One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A dog of a large, strong breed with drooping ears and pendulous lips.
- ‘The owner of the mastiff digs in and tries to drag his dog over to us to have a chat.’
- ‘Towns urged residents to purchase hounds and mastiffs and train them to hunt wolves.’
- ‘In the 16th century, English mastiffs were famous for their courage and ferocity as war dogs, and were used in Spanish armies both in Europe and America.’
- ‘Three large mastiffs rush into the room, snarling.’
- ‘Joining all-time favourites Labradors and German shepherds are the golden retriever, Rottweiler and English mastiff.’
- ‘Others claim the bulldog resulted from the crosses between mastiffs and Dutch pug dogs.’
- ‘‘They were like tied mastiffs newly loosed,’ one minister remarked of his mainly Royalist congregation who had discovered a sudden hatred for all things Puritan.’
- ‘The Himalayan mastiff is a much bigger dog, a loveable-looking animal on the lines of the Great Pyrenees.’
- ‘More than 4,000 years ago, the ancient Assyrians, Persians, and Babylonians used mastiffs wearing spiked collars to attack their enemies.’
- ‘It is said that what the lion is to the cat, the mastiff is to the dog.’
- ‘The white villa was surrounded by a high spiked wall and a pack of mastiffs patrolled the grounds.’
- ‘The superdogs, which have been seen in packs as large as 16, are crosses between native dingos and Rottweilers and mastiffs, the latter two well known for their strength and aggression.’
- ‘The presa canario - a cross of the bardino majero, an extinct Spanish breed, and the English mastiff - is typical of dogs engineered to fight other animals.’
- ‘The adjacent moat was found to contain the well preserved skulls of two lions and a leopard, and dog skulls - possibly mastiffs used for baiting - which were dated to between the 14th and 17th centuries.’
- ‘The various beissers were descended from mastiffs, which were themselves descended from a dog called the Molossian.’
- ‘News of the fatal attack has prompted enquiries from prospective owners to kennels that raise the dogs, which were originally bred from cattle dogs, mastiffs and bulldogs brought to the Canary Islands by British settlers.’
- ‘If a peasant wanted to leave the county, he had to pay a toll on one of my bridges and had to be back before night-fall, lest my feared mastiffs track him down and tear him limb-from-limb.’
- ‘The two dogs were cross-breeds of a mastiff and bull terrier and were kept, presumably as pets, by a woman with very young children.’
- ‘A fearsome Tibetan mastiff stands guard outside a dwelling while a smaller dog is ready to sound the alarm indoors if anyone is clever enough or lucky enough to slip past the mastiff.’
- ‘Large packs of black matted mastiffs prowl the streets for scraps, occasionally breaking into fights of heart-stopping ferocity.’
Middle English: from Old French mastin, based on Latin mansuetus ‘tame’.
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