Did You Know?
For a creature said to be man’s best friend, the dog doesn’t get a whole lot of respect in the English language. Something that has "gone to the dogs," for example, has gone to ruin, and the Britishism "dog’s breakfast" means a confused mess of something. The word canaille, which debuted in English in the 17th century, shows that we have no qualms about associating dogs with the lower levels of human society; it derives via French from Italian canaglia, and ultimately from "canis," the Latin word for "dog." "Canis," of course, is also the source of canine, meaning "of or relating to dogs or to the family to which they belong."
Origin and Etymology of canaille
French, from Italian canaglia, from cane dog, from Latin canis — more at hound
First Known Use: 1661
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