- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for hang-dog
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
They tried to be lively and willing, but there was an air of hang-dog diffidence about the place.Sister Carrie
The trooper arose and slouched to the tracking-line with a hang-dog air.The Woman from Outside
They helped to throw people off their guard, and to conceal his hang-dog look.Roughing it in the Bush
- downcast, furtive, or guilty in appearance or manner
- a furtive or sneaky person
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.