View synonyms for dog


[ dawg, dog ]


  1. a domesticated canid, Canis familiaris, bred in many varieties.
    1. any carnivore of the dog family Canidae, having prominent canine teeth and, in the wild state, a long and slender muzzle, a deep-chested muscular body, a bushy tail, and large, erect ears.
    2. the male of such an animal.
  2. any of various animals resembling a canid.
  3. Informal. a fellow:

    You've got a lovely family, you lucky dog.

    Security was patting down the concertgoers, but that sly dog snuck a camera in.

  4. Slang. an ugly, despicable, boring, or crude person:

    I had high hopes for this date, but he turned out to be a dog.

  5. Slang.
    1. something worthless or of extremely poor quality:

      That used car you bought is a dog.

    2. an utter failure; flop:

      Critics say his new play is a dog.

  6. Slang. hot dog.
  7. Dog, Astronomy. either of two constellations, Canis Major or Canis Minor.
  8. dogs, Slang. feet:

    I couldn't wait to get home and take off my shoes—my dogs were killing me.

  9. Machinery.
    1. any of various mechanical devices, as for gripping or holding something.
    2. a projection on a moving part for moving steadily or for tripping another part with which it engages.
  10. Also called gripper, nipper. Metalworking. a device on a drawbench for drawing the work through the die.
  11. a clamp binding together two timbers.
  12. an iron bar driven into a stone or timber to provide a means of lifting it.
  13. a firedog; andiron.
  14. Meteorology. a sundog or fogdog.
  15. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter D.

verb (used with object)

, dogged, dog·ging.
  1. to follow or track like a dog, especially with hostile intent; hound:

    After the film, the actor was dogged by paparazzi.

  2. to cause persistent problems or distress; haunt; plague:

    She was dogged by a sense of guilt over her part in the scandal.

  3. to drive or chase with a dog or dogs.
  4. Machinery. to fasten with dogs:

    They put the helmet on his head and dogged it to the gasket with the turnbuckles.


/ dɒɡ /


    1. a domesticated canine mammal, Canis familiaris, occurring in many breeds that show a great variety in size and form
    2. ( as modifier )

      dog biscuit

    1. any other carnivore of the family Canidae, such as the dingo and coyote
    2. ( as modifier ) canine

      the dog family

    1. the male of animals of the dog family
    2. ( as modifier )

      a dog fox

  1. modifier
    1. spurious, inferior, or useless

      dog Latin

    2. ( in combination )


  2. a mechanical device for gripping or holding, esp one of the axial slots by which gear wheels or shafts are engaged to transmit torque
  3. informal.
    a fellow; chap

    you lucky dog

  4. informal.
    a man or boy regarded as unpleasant, contemptible, or wretched
  5. informal.
    a male friend: used as a term of address
  6. slang.
    an unattractive or boring girl or woman
  7. informal.
    something unsatisfactory or inferior
  8. short for firedog
  9. any of various atmospheric phenomena See fogdog seadog sundog
  10. a dog's chance
    no chance at all
  11. a dog's dinner or a dog's breakfast informal.
    something that is messy or bungled
  12. a dog's life
    a wretched existence
  13. dog eat dog
    ruthless competition or self-interest
  14. like a dog's dinner informal.
    dressed smartly or ostentatiously
  15. put on the dog informal.
    to behave or dress in an ostentatious or showy manner


  1. to pursue or follow after like a dog
  2. to trouble; plague

    to be dogged by ill health

  3. to chase with a dog or dogs
  4. to grip, hold, or secure by a mechanical device


  1. usually in combination thoroughly; utterly


Discover More

Derived Forms

  • ˈdogˌlike, adjective

Discover More

Other Words From

  • dog·less adjective
  • dog·like adjective

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of dog1

First recorded before 1050; from Middle English dogge, from Old English docga; further origin uncertain

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of dog1

Old English docga, of obscure origin

Discover More

Idioms and Phrases

  1. call off the dogs, to pause or stop a relentless attack, pursuit, or campaign:

    There was so much lobbying that the president had to ask the group to call off the dogs.

  2. dog it, Informal.
    1. to shirk one's responsibility; loaf on the job:

      He was a ball hog who couldn't run properly and dogged it on defense.

    2. to retreat, flee, renege, etc.:

      Her sponsor dogged it when she needed him most.

  3. go to the dogs, Informal. to deteriorate; degenerate morally or physically:

    This neighborhood is going to the dogs.

  4. lead a dog's life, to have an unhappy or harassed existence:

    He complains that he led a dog's life in the army.

  5. let sleeping dogs lie, to refrain from action that would alter an existing situation for fear of causing greater problems or complexities:

    I'm thinking of trying to repair the defect in my computer, but the issue is minor so maybe I should let sleeping dogs lie.

  6. put on the dog, Informal. to assume an attitude of wealth or importance; put on airs:

    For banquet night we get to put on the dog and dress up and look spiffy.

  7. sick as a dog, very sick:

    We went on vacation but I was sick as a dog the whole time and couldn't enjoy it.

  8. throw (someone or something) to the wolves / dogs, Informal. wolf ( def 13 ).
  9. fight like cats and dogs. fight ( def 18 ).

More idioms and phrases containing dog

  • coon's (dog's) age
  • every dog has its day
  • go to pot (the dogs)
  • hair of the dog
  • hot dog
  • in the doghouse
  • let sleeping dogs lie
  • put on the dog
  • rain cats and dogs
  • see a man about a dog
  • shaggy dog story
  • sick as a dog
  • tail wagging the dog
  • teach an old dog new tricks
  • throw to the wolves (dogs)
  • top banana (dog)

Discover More

Example Sentences

One step at a time, clumsily restraining an overexcited dog, we lowered ourselves into the valley.

“Susan even asked if she could bring pet food for our dog, when she heard him barking through the door,” she added.

Some people walk dogs out of love, or duty, or because their parents make them.

From Quartz

I take my dog on hikes and when the world isn’t in shambles, I love traveling.

As I walked the dog the other morning, I tried to remember the last time My Lovely Wife and I overslept and didn’t get the trash out in time.

Indeed, although he works here in the old town, he lives in the new part of the city where he walks his dog in the morning.

Up till then I was just a dog-assed heavy, one of the posse.

Hangover Rx: “The old ‘hair of the dog’ is pretty much just a myth,” says White.

His latest book is a short story collection, Even a Street Dog: Las Vegas Stories.

And just last May Glee aired “Old Dog, New Trick,” the first episode scripted by Colfer.

A little boy of four was moved to passionate grief at the sight of a dead dog taken from a pond.

A was an Archer, who shot at a frog; B was a Butcher, and had a great dog.

The dog stood with hanging head and tail, as if ashamed he had let so many of his enemies get away unharmed.

These words were uttered in a guarded whisper by a boy about seventeen years of age, to a great dog that stood by his side.

At the word of command, the dog crouched down, his whole body quivering with excitement.


Related Words

Discover More

More About Dog

Where does the word dog come from?

How did man’s best friend fetch the name dog? This is actually one of English’s toughest headscratchers.

While dog is an extremely common word, its origin hounds us. Until around the 1500s, the go-to term for dog, was hund, which developed into hound. Fun fact: the Latin word for dog, canis, is the origin of the word canine and is, in fact, etymologically related to hound.

But scholars can’t quite put their paws on where the word dog came from. All we know is that it comes from the rare Old English word docga. But where did this word dog come from? Theories have been offered, but etymologists are left chasing their tails. As it happens, the Spanish word for dog, perro, is also of obscure origin.

So, we guess we’ll let this sleeping dog lie for now.

Dog isn’t alone: it finds lots of company in other English words that seem simple but whose origins are not. Discover more in our slideshow “‘Dog,’ ‘Boy,’ And Other Words That We Don’t Know Where They Came From.”

Did you know … ?

There is a good reason that a dog is considered man’s best friend: it’s believed humans domesticated dogs over 10,000 years ago and have been part of our lives ever since. Dogs split off from their genetic cousins, wolves, tens of thousands of years ago, but you can see that some dogs have kept the family resemblance. The word dog is a collective name for the species Canis familiaris, of which there are nearly 200 breeds that range from dalmatians to pugs.

There are also numerous, metaphorical ways you can use the English word dog. It can be used to describe a regular person (a lucky dog), a loathsome man (a dirty dog), or even your feet (my dogs are sore). There are plenty more idioms and other expressions that use dog, such as you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, or that reference the behavior of dogs as in bite the hand that feeds you.

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




do fordog and bone