Word of the Day : June 23, 2011

shaggy-dog

play
adjective shag-ee-DAWG

Definition

: of, relating to, or being a long-drawn-out circumstantial story concerning an inconsequential happening that impresses the teller as humorous or interesting but the hearer as boring and pointless; also : of, relating to, or being a similar humorous story whose humor lies in the pointlessness or irrelevance of the punch line

Did You Know?

The origin of the adjective "shaggy-dog" isn't truly known, but lexicographer Eric Partridge rather believably tells us that it originated with a shaggy-dog story of the amusing sort that involves -- of course! -- a shaggy dog. Today, the word sometimes refers to a rambling story that impresses the teller as humorous or interesting but the hearer as boring and pointless, but it can also refer to a similar story (or movie or TV show) that is actually humorous and whose humor lies in its very pointlessness or irrelevance.


Examples

The actor's next film is a shaggy-dog comedy in which he plays a burnt-out, unemployed slacker who falls for the girl next door.

"The new material uses the same low-tech, movement-centric style to act out two other Carroll poems: The Phantasmagoria, a ghost story with a shaggy-dog ending, and The Hunting of the Snark (An Agony in 8 Fits), a 'Jabberwocky'-like verse-play about a clueless sailing crew searching for a nonexistent sea creature." -- From a theater review by Elaine Liner in the Dallas Observer, April 21, 2011



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What dog-related compound means "marked by ruthless self-interest"? The answer is ...


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