- the sultry part of the summer, supposed to occur during the period that Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun: now often reckoned from July 3 to August 11.
- a period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence.
Origin of dog days
Examples from the Web for dog days
When his club closed in the dog-days for repairs he went to the club which received him.The Doctor of Pimlico
William Le Queux
It was in the height of summer, just at the beginning of the dog-days.
With the beginning of the dog-days, however, the weather had changed.Caleb West, Master Diver
F. Hopkinson Smith
While the dog-days are disappointing in respect to bird life, there are compensations.In the Open
Stanton Davis Kirkham
Common assaults and drunkenness also multiply wonderfully in the dog-days.Curiosities of Civilization
- the hot period of the summer reckoned in ancient times from the heliacal rising of Sirius (the Dog Star)
- a period marked by inactivity
Word Origin and History for dog days
1530s, from Latin dies caniculares, from Greek; so called because they occur around the time of the heliacal rising of Sirius, the Dog Star (kyon seirios). Noted as the hottest and most unwholesome time of the year; usually July 3 to Aug. 11, but variously calculated, depending on latitude and on whether the greater Dog-star (Sirius) or the lesser one (Procyon) is reckoned.
The heliacal rising of Sirius has shifted down the calendar with the precession of the equinoxes; in ancient Egypt c.3000 B.C.E. it coincided with the summer solstice, which also was the new year and the beginning of the inundation of the Nile. The "dog" association apparently began here (the star's hieroglyph was a dog), but the reasons for it are obscure.
The hot, muggy days of summer. The Romans associated such weather with the influence of Sirius, the dog star, which is high in the sky during summer days.
Idioms and Phrases with dog days
Hot, sultry summer weather; also, a period of stagnation. For example, It's hard to get much work done during the dog days, or Every winter there's a week or two of dog days when sales drop dramatically. The term alludes to the period between early July and early September, when Sirius, the so-called Dog Star, rises and sets with the sun. The ancient Romans called this phenomenon dies caniculares, which was translated as “dog days” in the first half of the 1500s.