• synonyms

lap dog

  1. a small pet dog that can easily be held in the lap.
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Origin of lap dog

First recorded in 1635–45
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lapdog

Historical Examples of lapdog

  • The enmity between the lapdog and the mastiff is an old story.

    Hours in a Library, Volume I. (of III.)

    Leslie Stephen

  • She carries dormice in her pocket, and keeps a lapdog and a squirrel.

    The Maidens' Lodge

    Emily Sarah Holt

  • I'd quite as soon be changed into a lapdog, and led along by a string.

    Agatha's Husband

    Dinah Maria Craik (AKA: Dinah Maria Mulock)

  • Why, you can't get at me, and I can tease you from here as though you were Julie's lapdog.

    Short Stories

    Fiodor Dostoievski

  • He must remain coy in his nook within the wall till he might see the lady's lapdog run across the orchard.

British Dictionary definitions for lapdog


  1. a pet dog small and docile enough to be cuddled in the lap
  2. informal a person who attaches himself to someone in admiration or infatuation
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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

Word Origin and History for lapdog


also lap-dog, 1640s, from lap (n.) + dog (n.); figurative sense of "subservient person" is by 1950.

Senator McCarthy (R-Wis) renewed his Communists-in-Government charges today and called Senator Tydings (D-Md) the Truman administration's "whimpering lap dog." [AP news story, Aug. 7, 1950]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper