Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dog n.2

1. of humans or animals, based on negative characteristic.

(a) [16C+] (also dawg) an untrustworthy, treacherous, completely venal man.

(b) [17C+] an unpleasant woman or man.

(c) [mid-19C+] (also dawg) a horse that is slow, difficult to handle etc.

(d) attrib. use of sense 1c.

(e) [1930s+] (US black, also doggie) an offensive or abusive man.

2. (also dawg) of humans, based on positive or neutral characteristics.

(a) [late 16C+] a person, irrespective of moral/social status.

(b) [late 17C+] (also dawg) a clever, cheery, hearty person; esp. in affectionate phr. you old dog.

(c) [1990s+] (also dawg, dogg) a close friend.

(d) [1990s+] (also dogg) a general term of address, usu. between men.

(e) [1990s+] constr. with the, an admirable person.

3. senses based on sexuality.

(a) [17C; 20C+] (US, also doggy) the penis.

(b) [late 17C] the vagina [early 17C nonce use: a dog with a hole in its head].

(c) [late 19C+] (orig. US) a promiscuous man or woman.

(d) [1930s+] (US black) a prostitute, esp. when ageing and/or run-down.

(e) [1960s+] (US black) lust, sexual desire.

4. of inanimate objects, based on negative characteristics.

(a) [mid-18C; 1950s+] a general negative description, something useless, worthless, broken down etc; a second-rate product or one that is hard to sell; a mediocre performance.

(b) [mid-19C; 1960s+] (also dawg) unpleasantness, bad characteristics, meanness.

(c) [1910s+] (US, also dawg) a disappointment, a failure.

(d) [1950s+] weakness, cowardice, e.g. in a boxer; also attrib.

5. [19C+] (also dawg) ostentation, showiness, style, esp. if affected or pretentious.

6. Und. uses.

(a) [mid-19C; 1940s+] (UK Und.; later use US) a police officer.

(b) [mid-19C+] (Aus./US, also doggy) an informer, a ‘stool pigeon’, a traitor; esp. one who betrays fellow criminals; thus underdogs.

(c) [1920s+] (Aus.) a plain-clothes detective, esp. working on the railways.

(d) [1950s–60s] (US black) a notably brutal police officer or prison officer.

(e) [1960s] (US prison) in a women’s prison, an inmate who turns temporarily to homosexuality.

(f) [1970s] (US prison) an older or tougher prisoner who exploits younger, weaker men as homosexual partners.

(g) [1970s] (US prison) a guard.

7. [late 19C+] (also doggie) a sausage; also attrib.; thus dog roll, a hot dog.

8. [20C+] an unattractive woman or man.

9. [1920s+] (US black) something or someone unusual or surprising.

10. [1930s–40s] (US black campus) a freshman.

11. see dog (end)

12. see dog (joint)

13. see dog-leg

14. see dog’s disease

15. see tin dog under tin adj.

In derivatives

doggish (adj.)

1. [1920s] (US) second-rate.

2. [1960s+] (US black) obsessed with sex, lecherous; thus doggishly adv.

In compounds

dog nigger (n.) [nigger n.1 (1)] [1970s] (US black)

an unpleasant, aggressive person.

In phrases

beat the dog (v.)

[1930s+] to masturbate.

clapping the dog (n.)

[1990s+] stimulating a woman’s genitals with one’s fingers.

dog-eat-dog (n.)

[1970s] (Aus.) an abusive term for a young woman.

do the dog (v.)

1. [1920s+] (US) to show off, to strut about.

2. see dog v.1 (3b)

go dog (v.)

1. [late 19C–1950s] (Aus.) to let down; to betray, to inform against.

2. [1960s] (Aus.) to act in an overtly sexual manner.

3. to work as an informer.

4. [2000s] (US) to be a coward.

let the dog see the rabbit (v.)

[1930s+] to give someone a chance to get on with a task.

lose one’s dog (v.)

[1910s] (US) to lose control of a situation.

on the dog

1. unemployed, living as tramp.

2. [1980s+] (Aus. prison) branded as an informer and thereafter ostracized.

play (the) dog (v.)

[1960s] (US) to display oneself sexually, to act in an ostentatiously promiscuous manner.

put on (the) dog (v.) (also carry dog, dog (up), pile on dog, throw on dog)(orig. US)

1. [mid-19C+] to show off, to put on airs; to do something energetically, noisily.

2. [1970s] to have sexual intercourse.

stroke the dog (v.)

to have sexual intercourse.

take the dog for a walk (v.) (also water the dog) [the euph. excuse one makes when leaving the room]

[1960s+] (US) to urinate or to defecate.

turn dog (v.) (Aus.)

1. [mid-19C–1940s] to become an informer, to inform on.

2. [late 19C-1910s] to let down, to ‘bite the hand that feeds you’.

3. [1900s] to become unkind (and treat someone cruelly).

4. to abandon, to give up on.

5. [1910s] to betray; to take a bribe.

SE in slang uses

In derivatives

dogways (adv.)

[late 19C] having sexual intercourse in the rear-entry position.

In compounds


see separate entries.

dog-booby (n.) [SE dog adj., male + booby n.1 (1)]

[late 18C] a country lout, a male peasant.

dogbox (n.)

see separate entry.

dog-breath (n.) (orig. US)

1. [1940s+] bad breath.

2. [1980s+] one who has bad breath; thus an offensive person.

dog buffer (n.) [buffer n.1 (1)]

[late 18C–early 19C] a dog stealer.

dogcart (n.)

[1920s+] (Aus.) a police car.

dogcock (n.)

[2000s] (N.Z.) a form of sausage.

dog-collar (n.)

1. [mid-19C+] the reversed collar worn by clergymen; thus dog-collared adj.

2. [late 19C+] a choker necklace.

dog-days (n.) [SE dog-day, an evil time, a period in which malignant influences prevail; lit. the rising of the Dog Star]

[1910s+] a menstrual period.

dog-driver (n.) [the term sneers at the police officer, giving him the lowly task of driving off stray dogs]

[1910s+] (W.I.) a police officer.

dog (end) (n.) [? SE docked end] [1930s+]

1. the last fraction of a cigarette; thus phr. dog-ends on, please give me the last fraction of your cigarette.

2. [1940s] in fig. use, anything small or insignificant.

dog-English (n.)

[mid-19C] illiterate, ungrammatical English; slang.

dogface (n.) (also dawgface)

1. [late 19C+] (US) an unpleasant person; a term of abuse; thus adjs. dogfaced, dawg-faced, stupid-looking, ugly [prior use from mid-19C in nicknames for specific individuals (see HDAS)].

2. [1930s+] (US, also dogface grunt) a soldier, an infantryman; thus adjs. dogfaced, dawgfaced[coined as an insult by members of the US Marine Corps, who look down on infantrymen. Allegedly from the old Cheyenne War Society in the Plains Wars, who called themselves Dog Soldiers; the Cavalry took it from them].

dog-fever (n.)

[1910s+] (Aus.) influenza.

dog-fight (n.) (US)

[late 19C] a fistfight, a brawl.

dogfood (n.)

see separate entries.


see separate entries.

dog-heart (n.)

[20C+] (W.I. Rasta) a person who is especially cold and cruel.

dog hours (n.)

[1920s–30s] (US) a late-night/early-morning shift.

doghouse (n.)

see separate entry.

dog (joint) (n.) [SE hot dog + joint n. (3b)]

[1920s] (US, also dog) a cheap restaurant, a hot dog stand.

dog juice (n.) [juice n.1 (3a), i.e. only good enough for an animal or common dog]

[1970s+] (US black) cheap liquor or wine.

dog-knotted (adj.)

[1950s+] for two lovers to be locked together during intercourse because of a vaginal muscle spasm brought on by a sudden shock.

dog-leg (n.) (also dog) [the twists in which the tobacco was sold, which resembled a dog’s leg; also attrib]

[mid–late 19C] (US) second-rate tobacco.

dog licence (n.)

[1940s+] (Aus.) a certificate of exemption from the prohibition of alcohol to Native Australians (under the Aborigines Protection Act 1909–43) that permits them to buy a drink in a hotel.

In compounds

dog-mouth (v.)

[1980s] (US black) to abuse verbally.

dog music (n.)

[1900s] (Aus.) howling (of a wounded person).

dog nuts (n.) [nuts n.2 (1)]

1. [1960s+] a term of contempt.

2. [1990s+] (also dognutz) a friend, a general term of address.

dogpaddle (v.)

[1960s] (US) to have anal intercourse.

dogpatch (n.) [Dogpatch, the hillbilly settlement in which the syndicated cartoon strip by Al Capp, L’il Abner (1934–77), takes place]

[1970s+] (US) a small town or hamlet.

dogpile (v.)

[1940s+] (US) for a group of people to leap on a single individual; thus also as n.


see separate entries.

dog-puncher (n.)

one who drives a team of dogs.

dog-robber (n.)

see separate entry.

dog’s... (n.)

see also separate entries.

dog’s abuse (n.)

[1920s+] (Irish) harsh verbal criticism.

dog’s age (n.)

[mid-19C+] (US) a very long time.

dog-salmon aristocracy (n.)

[late 19C] (US) one who thinks they are superior to their peers.

dog’s bottom (n.)

[1930s+] a joc. form of address.

dog’s chance (n.)

[mid-19C+] the smallest possible chance; usu. in negative uses.

dog’s dinner (n.)

see separate entry.

dog’s disease (n.) (also dog)

[late 19C+] (Aus.) one of a variety of illnesses, e.g. influenza, malaria, a hangover.

dog’s dram (n.)

[mid-18C–early 19C] the act of spitting in someone’s mouth and hitting them on the back.

dog’s head (n.)

[late 19C–1900s] (US) a variety of beer.


see separate entries.

dog’s licence (n.) [a dog’s licence cost 7s 6d (37½p)]

[1930s+] the sum of seven shillings and sixpence.

dog’s lunch (n.)

[1960s] (US gay) a notably unattractive and socially unacceptable individual.

dog’s marriage (n.)

[1990s+] sexual intercourse in the rear-entry position.

dog’s match (n.) [the brevity of the intercourse and the lack of privacy of mating dogs]

[19C+] sex in the open air, spec. by the wayside; thus to make a dog’s match of it, to have sex in the open air, to have spontaneous sex.

dog’s mouth (n.)

[1960s] (US) a tight vagina.

dog’s paste (n.)

[mid–late 19C] sausagemeat or mincemeat.

dog’s paw (n.)

[2000s] (US gang) a tattoo comprising a triangle of three dots, indicating gang membership.

dog’s portion (n.) [lit. ‘a lick and a smell’ (Grose, 1785)]

[late 18C–19C] virtually nothing; esp. of a man who pursues a woman and gets only very little for his pains.

dog’s rig (n.) [SE rig, a romp; i.e. the observation of dogs mating]

[late 18C–early 19C] sexual intercourse taken to exhaustion, followed by mutual disinterest.

dog’s shelf (n.)

[1950s+] the floor.

dog’s show (n.) [dog’s chance ]

[late 19C–1900s] (Aus.) no chance at all.

dog’s soup (n.) [post-19C use is US]

1. [late 18C+] rainwater.

2. [mid-19C–1930s] water (for drinking).

dog-stiffener (n.) (also stiffener) [stiffen v.1 (3)]

[20C+] (Aus.) a professional dingo-killer.


see separate entries.

dog tag (n.) [for a dog to be ‘legal’ (not a stray) in the US it must have a labelled collar]

1. [1910s+] (orig. US) an identification disk.

2. [1950s+] (US drugs) a legitimate prescription for otherwise illegal narcotics.

dog tempter (n.)

[1910s] (Aus.) a small piece of meat placed at the edge of the butcher's slab, specifically to attract a dog which is conventiently near to be hit.

dog ticket (n.)

[1900s] (Aus.) a harbor/river certificate.

dogtown (n.)

see separate entries.

dog trick (n.) (also dog’s trick)

[mid-16C–early 18C] a treacherous or spiteful act, an ill-turn, a mean, cruel trick.

dog wagon (n.) [play on SE dog wagon, used by the dog-catcher]

1. [20C+] (US) a small café or restaurant sited in a converted vehicle, a diner [the quality of food is generally poor].

2. [1960s–70s] (US) a prison van for conveying prisoners.

dog water (n.) [1960s+] (US)

1. semen.

2. urine.

dog work (n.)

[1980s+] (US) tedious, menial tasks.

In phrases

die like a dog (in a string) (v.)

see under die v.

dog and goanna rules (n.) [the image of a fight between a dog and a goanna lizard]

[1960s+] (Aus.) no rules at all.

dog and pony show (n.) (also horse and dog show) [the orig. dog and pony shows were small circuses, where they were the sole animal performers; thus the image is of an event which boasts much presentation but little substance]

[1950s+] (US) any elaborately formal occasion, used for official briefings, public relations etc.

dog in a doublet (n.) (also ape in a doublet, boar in a doublet) [the custom in Germany and Flanders to dress the dogs used to hunt wild boar in a form of buff doublet]

[late 16C–early 19C] a daring, bold person; thus proud as a dog in a doublet, very proud; a mere dog in a doublet, a pitiful figure, one who shows off to no avail.

dogs are barking

[1980s] (Aus.) used to imply that one has a ‘hot tip’ on a racehorse.

dogs have not dined

[late 18C–early 19C] a phr. used to alert someone whose shirt is hanging out.

dogs in the grass (n.) (also puppies in a haystack)

[1930s] (US) frankfurters and sauerkraut.

dogs on the street (n.)

[20C+] (Irish) the mass of uninformed people, those who are last to know.

dog trot to hell (n.)

[1900s] (US) a highly unpleasant experience.

flog the dog (v.)

to masturbate.

fuck the dog (and sell the pups) (v.) [fig. use of SE dog] [1910s+] (US)

1. (also feed the dog, fug..., screw..., fuck the pooch) to idle, to waste time, to loaf on the job.

2. to bungle, to blunder.

get in(to) a dog corn-piece (v.) [dog is synon. with a guard or watchman, and if he catches you in his corn-piece or corn-field you are in trouble]

[1910s+] (W.I.) to get into difficulties.

have a dog tied up (v.) (also leave a dog tied up) [the image of having left one’s dog while moving on elsewhere]

[1910s–40s] (Aus./N.Z.) to be indebted, esp. at a hotel.

keep dog (v.) [SE watchdog]

[1980s+] to keep a lookout.

see a man about a dog (v.)

see under see v.

In exclamations

the dog’s foot!

[20C+] (US) a mild excl.

to the dogs with!

[1900s] a dismissive excl.