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

The frozen treats are ideal for the dog days of summer or unseasonably warm fall weather. Stephanie Eckelkamp, Good Housekeeping, "How to Make Homemade Frozen 'Pupsicle' Treats for Your Special Pooch," 29 Aug. 2018 There's something nervous in all this, an edge of fear not seen in the American White House since the last dark, dank, dog days of Watergate. Fox News, "Kellyanne Conway: Incomplete press coverage harms America," 3 Aug. 2018 Here are some wardrobe staples that will get you through the dog days of summer in style — and with your dignity intact. Caitlin King, The Seattle Times, "How to dress for the heat — without losing your dignity," 24 July 2018 The dog days of summer are here, which means outside of blasting the AC, there's not much more to look forward to from now until Labor Day—except shopping. Leah Prinzivalli, Glamour, "The Best Stuff to Get From Tarte Cosmetics' Huge 25 Percent Off Sale," 31 July 2018 In time for the dog days of summer, Amtrak customers traveling all around the Midwest can bring their small to medium-sized pets on board trains. Mary Wisniewski,, "Pets now allowed on all Amtrak Midwest routes," 13 July 2018 And a 55-degree ocean is pretty darn effective at easing those dog days of August. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "There's no such thing as 'average' Kentucky weather. And trees hate that," 13 July 2018 The dog days of summer are here, which means vacations — and staycations — for many of us. Dan Wine,, "7 things to do in Orlando this summer — and they're all free," 12 July 2018 The dog days of August are typically not when voters are tuned in to midterm elections. New York Times, "Senate’s August Recess Cut, Keeping Democrats Off Campaign Trail," 5 June 2018

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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Statistics for dog days

Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for dog days

The first known use of dog days was in 1538

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on dog days

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dog days Encyclopedia article about dog days

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