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

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 Right now, the Nets are in the NBA’s dog days, the kind of malaise that can strike in the dead of winter. Larry Fleisher, Forbes, 26 Jan. 2022 Melvin has weathered the cranky stars and dog days of August, while stemming the types of losing streaks that caused the Padres to unravel. San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Oct. 2021 And now, no August dog days: as of Thursday morning, the San Francisco Giants are 17-5 in this penultimate month of the regular season. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Aug. 2021 Our favorite new young adult and kids' releases promise to breathe life into these slow, sticky dog days. Wired Staff, Wired, 15 June 2021 Greater Cincinnati will get two batches of the bothersome bugs — our regular dog days of summer cicadas and Brood X. Sarah Brookbank, The Enquirer, 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, 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, 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, 23 May 2020 See More

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.

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)

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best fans.

Learn More About dog days

Time Traveler for dog days

Time Traveler

The first known use of dog days was in 1538

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About dog days

Dictionary Entries Near dog days

dog-day cicada

dog days

dog disease

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for dog days

Cite this Entry

“Dog days.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for dog days

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dog days Encyclopedia article about dog days


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!