a funny story, traditionally about a talking dog, that, after an often long and involved narration of unimportant incidents, has an absurd or irrelevant punch line.
Origin of shaggy-dog story
First recorded in 1945–50
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for shaggy dog story
informal a long rambling joke ending in a deliberate anticlimax, such as a pointless punch line
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Idioms and Phrases with shaggy dog story
A long drawn-out anecdote with an absurd or anticlimactic ending. For example, At first he had us laughing wildly at his shaggy-dog stories, but after the third or fourth we found them tiresome. The term alludes to a well-known series of such stories, which involved a talking dog. [c. 1940]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
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