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put on the dog

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To make a show of wealth or elegance: “The annual ball gave everyone a chance to dress up and put on the dog.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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Other Idioms and Phrases with put on the dog

put on the dog

Also, put on the ritz. Behave in an elegant, extravagant manner, as in We'll have to put on the dog when our daughter's in-laws visit, or They really put on the ritz for the wedding reception. The allusion in the first of these slangy terms, first recorded in 1865, is unclear, although it has been suggested that the newly rich displayed their wealth by keeping pampered lapdogs. The second term, from the 1920s, alludes to the large, luxurious hotels founded by and named for César Ritz (1850–1918), which still exist in Paris, London, and many other major cities.

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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