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[hang-dawg, -dog] /ˈhæŋˌdɔg, -ˌdɒg/
browbeaten; defeated; intimidated; abject:
He always went about with a hangdog look.
shamefaced; guilty:
He sneaked out of the room with a hangdog expression.
suitable to a degraded or contemptible person; sneaky; furtive.
Archaic. a degraded, contemptible person.
Origin of hangdog
First recorded in 1670-80; hang + dog
2. ashamed, contrite, crestfallen.
1. confident, assured. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hang-dog
Historical Examples
  • He had a hang-dog look and felt ashamed, but he was resolute.

    Despair's Last Journey David Christie Murray
  • "To cut your throat, you hang-dog scoundrel," said Sampson, irately.

    The Wreck of the Titan Morgan Robertson
  • They tried to be lively and willing, but there was an air of hang-dog diffidence about the place.

    Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  • The trooper arose and slouched to the tracking-line with a hang-dog air.

    The Woman from Outside Hulbert Footner
  • They helped to throw people off their guard, and to conceal his hang-dog look.

    Roughing it in the Bush Susanna Moodie
  • You may see this evidenced in their hang-dog faces as they "soldier" on their jobs.


    Lincoln Clarke Andrews
  • Silently, with a hang-dog air, he followed her up to her room.

    The Burning Secret Stefan Zweig
  • Maxime's captors have the hang-dog manner of the Californian.

    The Little Lady of Lagunitas Richard Henry Savage
  • Here I've been trying for two days to remember where I've seen that hang-dog face.

    The Frontiersmen Gustave Aimard
  • His distress was so real that it gave him a hang-dog appearance.

    Margaret Ogilvy J. M. Barrie
British Dictionary definitions for hang-dog


downcast, furtive, or guilty in appearance or manner
a furtive or sneaky person
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hang-dog

also hangdog, 1670s, "befitting a hang-dog," a despicable, degraded fellow, so called either from notion of being fit only to hang a dog (cf. cutthroat) or of being a low person (i.e. dog) fit only for hanging. As a noun from 1680s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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