sun dog


: a small nearly round halo on the parhelic circle most frequently just outside the halo of 22 degrees

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web By exposing for the sun dog, so that some of the color in those bright highlights would be retained, the foreground wound up dark and rather murky. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 10 Oct. 2014 Half a sun dog indicates that death is coming for someone. Porter Fox, CNN, 29 Dec. 2021 The colors occur when sunlight passes through the ice crystals, similar to how sun dogs or halos form. Kathryn Prociv, Washington Post, 30 Mar. 2018 But this picture also holds another interesting effect: sun dogs. Mika Mckinnon, Smithsonian, 5 Feb. 2018 When sun dogs are present due to high cirrus clouds, they can actually be used as a forecast tool. Kathryn Prociv, Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2018 Similar to sun dogs, lunar and solar halos belong to the family of ice halos, which are optical phenomena formed by the refraction of sun on hexagonal ice crystals suspended high up in the atmosphere, most commonly in cirrus clouds. Kathryn Prociv, Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2018 Another arc of light swoops through the center of the image, crossing the sun and sun dogs. Mika Mckinnon, Smithsonian, 5 Feb. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sun dog.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1635, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sun dog was in 1635

Dictionary Entries Near sun dog

Cite this Entry

“Sun dog.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

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