The listening lesson “Thor to the Rescue” is about a very smart dog in my neighbourhood.
Many language learners are familiar with the expression “It’s raining cats and dogs”, but there are many more expressions in English with ‘dog’ in them.
Here are 13 more phrases and expressions with ‘dog’:
The doggy paddle
This is the first movement all children learn when they learn to swim! Have you ever seen a dog trying to swim in water? It moves its legs back and forth very quickly. When humans do the same movement in the water, it’s called ‘the doggy paddle’!
A dog and pony show
When you do something just to impress someone, such as your boss or someone important, it’s called ‘a dog and pony show.’
What is the point of this meeting? This is nothing but a dog and pony show.
The top dog
= The boss, leader or anyone in a position of authority.
Congratulations on your promotion! Now you’re the top dog around here!
The dog days of summer
It gets very hot in the months of July and August in North America. It is the height of summer. This time period is called ‘the dog days of summer.’
We go up north to our cottage in the dog days of summer. It’s much cooler up there.
If a book or magazine ‘dog-eared,’ it is well-used and many pages have turned down corners. Often when people want to mark a spot in a book, they turn down the corner of the page.
She gave me her dog-eared copy of Little Women to read.
Fight like cats and dogs
= To fight all the time, sometimes viciously.
We used to fight like cats and dogs when we were young!
Be in the dog house [with someone]
If you are in the dog house with someone, you are in a lot of trouble with them!
Work like a dog
= To work very hard.
I need a rest. I’ve been working like a dog all week.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!
= It’s difficult to change old habits or behaviour, or learn new things
My mother isn’t very good with computers. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!
Let sleeping dogs lie!
= Don’t talk about something bad that happened in the past, especially if it’s going to cause an argument.
Why are we talking about something that happened 10 years ago? Just let sleeping dogs lie!
It’s a dog-eat-dog world
= It’s a ruthless, vicious, competitive world – especially in business. Some people will do whatever it takes to get ahead or be successful, even if it hurts people around them.
We used to be friends, but he said terrible things about me so he would be promoted and not me. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there!
Every dog has its day.
= Everyone will achieve success or happiness at some point in their life. This is usually said to someone to motivate and encourage them if they feel like they won’t be successful.
One day, all your hard work will pay off. Every dog has its day!
Gone to the dogs
= Something is not as good as it used to be.
We don’t go to that restaurant anymore. It used to be great but it has really gone to the dogs.
Do you have any phrases or expressions in your language with ‘dog’ in them?
Gui e Mi says
Thank you teacher Melanie! Cool explanation! I love your blog, is good to improve my English! Kisses, Michelle.
There are some expressions with ‘dogs’ from my language (Russian):
– The dog barks, the caravan goes on.
– Every dog knows him there (he is well-known in some place)
– I have eaten a dog on this! (I am a professional in this, I’ve cut my teeth on it).
– So that is where the dog is buried! (that is where the problem lies!)
– They hung all dogs on him. (He was the one to blame).
Those are interesting expressions! I like “So that is where the dog is buried.” I think I will try using that in English. = )
I discovered your blog and I love it. I find it very usefull. Here in France we have a lot of expressions using the word “dog”. Here are some examples:
“Il fait un temps de chien” : It’s such a dog weather (used to describe a very bad weather)
” être trempé comme un chien” : to be wet like a dog (means to be soacked, if you are walking without an umbrella while it’s raining for example)
“Les chiens ne font pas des chats” : dogs don’t have cat’s (used to say that a child looks like his parents)
” être comme chien et chat” : (to be like cats and dogs, to describe people, usually sisters and brothers, who are always fighting)
“mener une vie de chien” : to lead a dog life (to have a misarable life, to be poor)
“avoir un mal de chien” : (to have a dog ache, used when something hurt you and it’s painfull but also when you have had some difficulties to do achieve something)
être malade comme un chien” : (to be sick like a dog, used when you are very sick)
“chien qui aboie ne mords pas : dogs bark but don’t bite (to describe people who talk without acting)
And there are still a lot but I think that’s enough.
That’s a great list, Fabriny! Thanks! This is my favourite: “chien qui aboie ne mores pas.”
There’s a similar expression: His bark is worse than his bite = He is not as dangerous as he seems/pretends to be; he is not as tough as he says he is!
A small note: When -ful is added to a word to make it an adjective, there is only one L:
Thank you for the note, I alsways have problem with this, I never know if I have to put one or two L. But you made it clear now
Dear ma’am,is it right to use gone to the dogs for people,the president is not eligible anymore,he’s gone to the dogs?
Good question, Soraya!
No, ‘gone to the dogs’ isn’t used to talk about people. It’s only used to talk about places or things, like the economy.