dog days

plural noun

Definition of dog days

1 : the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere
2 : a period of stagnation or inactivity

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Did You Know?

Dogs aren’t the only creatures uncomfortable in oppressive heat, so why does a dog get singled out in dog days? The dog here is actually the Dog Star, which is also called Sirius. The star has long been associated with sultry weather in the northern hemisphere because it rises simultaneously with the sun during the hottest days of summer. In the ancient Greek constellation system, this star (called Seirios in Greek) was considered the hound of the hunter Orion and was given the epithet Kyon, meaning "dog." The Greek writer Plutarch referred to the hot days of summer as hēmerai kynades (literally, "dog days"), and a Latin translation of this expression as dies caniculares is the source of our English phrase.

Examples of dog days in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Greater Cincinnati will get two batches of the bothersome bugs — our regular dog days of summer cicadas and Brood X. Sarah Brookbank, The Enquirer, "Emergence of Brood X cicadas is nearing. Here's everything you need to know to be prepared," 3 May 2021 The expression dog days takes its name from Sirius, the brightest star visible in the midsummer night sky which disappears below the horizon during the winter. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Sniff out some new activities during the dog days of summer: Valley Views," 13 July 2020 To counter the blazing sun and humidity of the … er … dog days, Arcadia Trail gear is specifically designed to keep our favorite animals cool, dry and happy. Michael Park, CNN Underscored, "Keep your summer fun pet-safe and pet-friendly with top outdoor pet gear," 30 June 2020 Spring is in the air, the snow is mostly gone — except on the Denali Highway — and sled dogs are enjoying the dog days of early summer. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "As it struggles with money woes and dwindling interest, the Yukon Quest needs support from Alaskans," 23 May 2020 Capuzzi asked the authors of the stories in her book to help put together a list of reasons to hug dogs on national hug your dog day, or any day. Southern Living, "Celebrate National Hug Your Dog Day This April," 9 Apr. 2020 The release coincides with spring, but Jo's recipe for creamy poblano soup is here to keep us warm through the dog days of winter. Joseph Neese, House Beautiful, "Joanna Gaines' Creamy Poblano Soup Was Inspired by One of Her First Dates With Husband Chip," 29 Feb. 2020 The dog days of summer are the hottest and Exxon Mobil is showing no signs of cooling off any time soon. Sergio Chapa, Houston Chronicle, "Drilling Down: Exxon Mobil shows no sign of cooling off in Permian Basin," 26 Aug. 2019 August is finally here, and the dog days of summer are in the rearview mirror. Tom Green |, al, "5 Auburn players with the most to gain, lose during fall camp," 1 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dog days.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dog days

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dog days

from their being reckoned from the heliacal rising of the Dog Star (Sirius)

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The first known use of dog days was in 1538

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Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dog days.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for dog days

dog days


English Language Learners Definition of dog days

: the hottest time of the year

dog days

noun plural

Kids Definition of dog days

: the hot period between early July and early September

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