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dog and pony show

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noun Informal.

an elaborate sales, advertising, or publicity presentation or campaign.

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Origin of dog and pony show

First recorded in 1965–70

Words nearby dog and pony show

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

BEHIND THE PHRASE

What does dog and pony show mean?

A dog and pony show, or dog-and-pony show, is an informal phrase used to mean an elaborate presentation or campaign, especially one held to drum up publicity or attention.

Dog and pony show is used to describe advertising campaigns or sales presentations that are trying to impress executives, customers, or investors, as in The young businessmen managed to win over investors with their dog and pony show.

Dog and pony show is also often used jokingly or mockingly to describe something as being unnecessarily showy or flashy while lacking meaning or substance, as in The press conference was nothing but a dog and pony show that failed to answer any important questions.

Example: You need to spice up the demonstration until it becomes a dog and pony show that people won’t soon forget.

Where does dog and pony show come from?

The first records of dog and pony show in its figurative sense come from around 1949. The phrase alludes to traveling variety shows that often used actual dogs and ponies as part of the entertainment.

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What are some words that often get used in discussing dog and pony show?

How is dog and pony show used in real life?

Dog and pony show is often used negatively to describe something as being too elaborate or making a big show of something unimportant.

Try using dog and pony show!

Is dog and pony show used correctly in the following sentence?

Marty turned Jane’s book launch into a dog and pony show by inviting celebrities and hiring a famous band to play music.

How to use dog and pony show in a sentence

Idioms and Phrases with dog and pony show

dog-and-pony show

An elaborate presentation to gain approval for a product or policy. For example, The administration loved putting on a dog-and-pony show for every minor change of policy. This term alludes to a traveling variety show. [1950s]

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