Posted by: Jack Henry | December 20, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Dog Idioms, Part 2

Good morning, readers! It is day two of doggy idioms. For the full, furry list, you can click here.

If You Lie Down With Dogs, You Get Up With Fleas

Meaning: A way of issuing a warning to someone—to say that they will have to suffer the consequence if they do dangerous things.

Be Like a Dog With Two Tails

Meaning: To be very happy or to show great pleasure. It originates from the wagging of a dog’s tail as a sign of happiness.

Example: "He’s been like a dog with two tails ever since he had that big win at the races."

Three Dog Night

Meaning: To say that it is so cold that we need an extra dog for cuddling and warmth.

Puppy Dog Eyes

Meaning: A way of describing someone who uses their eyes or an appealing cute expression to try and appeal to your better nature.

Example: "Don’t you give me those puppy dog eyes—you are not getting any more ice cream. You’ve had enough already."

Bought a Pup

Meaning: A way of describing someone deceived. For example, they thought they were buying something much better than they got.

Example: "The previous owner told me that this was a genuine designer bag, but it turned out to be a cheap imitation. It looks like I bought a pup."

That Dog Won’t Hunt

Meaning: That won’t work; forget it.

Example: "I know you think that we can cross that swollen river by wading across—but it’s a strong current, and I can’t swim. That dog won’t hunt; I’m afraid we need another plan."

[KC – I have to admit, way back in my history with Jack Henry, one of you folks in the South responded to an idea I had with the phrase, “That dog won’t hunt.” I had no idea what that
meant. Why is this guy talking to me about a dog? And hunting?]

My Dogs Are Barking

Meaning: My feet hurt.

Example: "I’ve been on my feet all day, I’m weary, and to make matters worse, my dogs are barking."


Meaning: To say that something is a bit worn or well used. Often said when referring to an old book cover or magazine that has seen well thumbed through and has seen better days."

Example: "The book is a first edition copy and could be worth a lot of money. The only issue is that it’s a well-read copy, and the dust-jacket is worn and a little dog-eared."

If You Want a Friend in Washington, Get a Dog

Meaning: Friends are few and far between—if it’s a friend you need here, then you had better acquire a dog.

Hell Hound

"Hell hound" is a phrase steeped in history and fable. The most recognized use of the words is of Cerberus—Hades’ three-headed guard dog. However, the term may have originated from the Egyptians use of hounds to guard graves.

Rock Hound

Meaning: A geologist, studying the Earth’s origin, structure, and composition, is commonly known as a "rock hound."

Example: "He may only be young, but he’s becoming a real rock hound. He’s out collecting rock samples every chance he gets,"

Let the Dog See the Rabbit

[KC – I wanted more information on this, so I looked at another website for a more complete definition.
It is said to be from a Welsh saying, in reference to being fair-minded in sports. Its current definition is a bit broader than that. From
Word Histories:

The phrase to let the dog see the rabbit means to
allow someone to get on with the task that they are supposed to perform, without interference or restriction

Kara Church | Technical Editor, Advisory | Technical Publications

Pronouns: she/her | Call via Teams |

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