Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday Trivia: to "Put on the Dog"

If you're going to "put on the dog", that means you plan to get seriously dressed up.

The earliest reference in print is from a book written in 1871, entitled Four Years at Yale, and indicates that the phrase may have begun as college slang.

It explains, “To put on dog is to make a flashy display, to cut a swell.”

Manet's Portrait of a Man
(public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

We wonder if that's why the stiff stand-up shirt collars that were the height of male fashion in the 1870s and 80s were known as "dog collars"!

Sources:, Online Etymology Dictionary


  1. Actually we have never heard of that phrase. Interesting.
    Have a terrific Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. Interesting that Molly hadn't heard of "putting on the dog" Maybe it's a US thing? Giz puts on the dog himself with his flashy collars and bling...

  3. I'm gonna go put me dog on..BOL, wez neffer heard of that before :) xx00xx

    Mollie and Alfie

  4. We boyz are gonna go tell Allie she's been "putting on the dog" with all those fancy collars of hers. Yeah!

  5. Did not know this - pretty cool! Mom can't remember if she thanked you for the lovely card you sent for our Joey - she was going over some cards and saw it again. That was so thoughtful of you.

    cats of wildcat woods

  6. While visiting Colonial Williamsburg many years ago, we were told a different but similar story at the Cobbler's Shop. The very rich were able to have custom shoes made for themselves and one of the most desirable and softest leathers came from dog hide. When they wore these shoes (usually for a special occasion), it was called "putting on the dog." Wonder which is true? Thanks for sharing. Purrs and hugs from the kitties at The Cat on My Head, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Josette

  7. A dog collar is what vicar's wear over here!! Never heard of that phrase though!!

  8. Wes heard putting on the dog - to gets all dressed up to goes trip the light fantastic!

  9. Clearly an early fashion faux paw.
    ; ) Katie

    (dogs will NEVER get it right)


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