Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thursday Trivia: My dogs are barking!

Ever heard this phrase? In the vernacular, "my dogs are barking" means "my feet hurt!"

photo: Chiot's Run via Creative Commons

Before we can explore the origin of this phrase, we should probably answer the question, how did 'dogs' come to mean 'feet'?

The Online Etymology Dictionary points back to a Cockney penchant for rhyming slang as its origin, linking dog’s meat to feet and pinning it to 1913.

The timing of this matches a comment published the same year in the New York Evening Journal. Reporter T. A. “Tad” Dorgan wrote he was “waitin’ for my sore dog to heal up.”

This was classic Dorgan. The New York Times labeled this man as a writer known to popularize “new slang vernacular.”

Sure enough, just a few years later, the well-respected Ladies Home Journal published this observation: "a Marine never calls a foot anything but a dog.” (September, 1919.)

photo: patchattack via Creative Commons

Here’s a fun tie-in to the trivia from two weeks ago – you know, the one about the origin of the phrase “hush puppy”?

Well, in 1958, a classic suede shoe called the Hush Puppy made its debut in the U.S. According to company lore, the marketing department initially planned to name these new shoes “Lasers.” But their sales manager, who recently returned from a trip to the Deep South, suggested a different moniker.

While on his trip, he was served hush puppies at a meal. He asked about how the tasty morsels got their name and was told that farmers threw these fried bits to the hounds to “quiet their barking dogs.”

The sales manager put two and two together (colloquial phrases, that is)... and the rest, as they say, is history.

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Sources:
Wikipedia: Tad Dorgan
Phrases.org: Dogs Barking
Etymology Online
Phrases.org: Hush Puppies

We apologize for being a bit scarce until Sunday. Our mommy's off visiting our grandpa and Daddy refuses to blog for us. We're soooo mistreated!
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9 comments:

  1. Hmmm... So this Dorgan fellow invented wordy stuff, huh? Just like me! That's pretty neat.

    Purrs,
    Nissy

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  2. Sadly cockney Rhyming Slang is fast disappearing which is a pity as it is actually quite funny. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

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  3. Guess those "hush puppies" don't work on humans, eh? ;)

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  4. de food serviss gurl iz old enuff ta noe bout de hush puppeez shooz...we iz old enuff ta noe long john silvers served hush puppeez with...FISH !!!!!

    lunch brake ~~~

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  5. That's how hush puppies were named? That's even more interesting than calling your feet dogs (which just seemed speciesist to us)

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  6. Interesting! I had a friend who used this expression and claimed she heard it used often amongst African Americans. This led me to believe the origins of the expression was nowhere near where it actually originates from!

    the critters in the cottage xo

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  7. You know what ?!
    My mom-person have a pair of Hush Puppy shoes :)
    XOXO

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  8. Mommy was wearing her hush puppies while she shoveled the driveway. Her dogs was barking (and so was the hairy slobbery sisters!)
    Kisses
    Nellie

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  9. Now I know what Dad meant when he said his dog hurt while he was running and doing that hooman stuff this morning. (He only got one)

    Buddy was sniffing around the closet door to make sure no pup was hiding in there.
    Timmy

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Coolio! A comment? For US?