February 28, 2015 13:54 UTC

Words and Their Stories

'What a Dog's Life!'

Every dog has its day
Every dog has its day
Dog Talk
Dog Talki
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X


Now the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.

Americans use many expressions with the word "dog." People in the United States love their dogs and treat them well. They take their dogs for walks, let them play outside and give them good food and medical care. However, dogs without owners to care for them lead a different kind of life. The expression "to lead a dog's life" describes a person who has an unhappy existence.

Some people say we live in a "dog-eat-dog world." That means many people are competing for the same things, like good jobs. They say that to be successful, a person has to "work like a dog." This means they have to work very, very hard. Such hard work can make people "dog-tired." And the situation would be even worse if they became "sick as a dog."

Still, people say "every dog has its day." This means that every person enjoys a successful period during his or her life. To be successful, people often have to learn new skills. Yet, some people say that "you can never teach an old dog new tricks." They believe that older people do not like to learn new things and will not change the way they do things.

Some people are compared to dogs in bad ways. People who are unkind or uncaring can be described as "meaner than a junkyard dog." Junkyard dogs live in places where people throw away things they do not want. Mean dogs are often used to guard this property. They bark or attack people who try to enter the property. However, sometimes a person who appears to be mean and threatening is really not so bad. We say "his bark is worse than his bite."

A junkyard is not a fun place for a dog. Many dogs in the United States sleep in safe little houses near their owners' home. These doghouses provide shelter. Yet they can be cold and lonely in the winter. Husbands and wives use this doghouse term when they are angry at each other. For example, a woman might get angry at her husband for coming home late, or forgetting their wedding anniversary. She might tell him that he is "in the doghouse." She may not treat him nicely until he apologizes. However, the husband may decide that it is best to leave things alone and not create more problems. He might decide to "let sleeping dogs lie."

Dog expressions also are used to describe the weather. The "dog days of summer" are the hottest days of the year. A rainstorm may cool the weather, but we do not want it to rain too hard -- we do not want it to "rain cats and dogs."

This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written by Jill Moss.

I'm Faith Lapidus.
 
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: BIJU.P.Y from: SOUTH INDIA
06/23/2014 12:32 AM
All the dog expressions described here are very nice and can be put in to practice in day to day life. Dogs are man's most faithful companions. But no man can entertain a 'mad dog'. The expression 'dog tired' is a very common thing that can be seen in most villages often times. A dog comes to unmanageable rest after engaging in a lot of misbehaviors and exertions and wandering and bitch chasing. 'Leading a dog's life' also portrays in mind the real picture of a wretched person who has lost control of himself. I think you will be back with many more colorful expressions. Thank you.


by: Enrique from: Spain
06/22/2014 1:13 PM
Wow, I did not know that Americans had so many expressions with the word dog. I knew some of them, such as 'to rain cats and dogs' or the one that my English teacher taught us ( 'as crooked as a dog's hind leg,' that, if I remember well, means 'dishonest') but I could have never imagined there would be so many!
The one I liked best is 'every dog has its day,' because I think it's a very optimistic one, and I feel what it states is completely true.
In Spanish we also have some expressions with the word dog. One that I think is very funny is 'to be stranger than a green dog'. And we have one that is quite similar to 'his bark is worse than his bite.'
Thank you very much for this information! It was really interesting.


by: emir from: turkey
06/22/2014 11:04 AM
I agree with everything that this text says about using terms related to dogs. In my country is used similar expressions, too. For example, when we are in love with someone very much. we say that "I am in love with her/him like a dog". This means that "I love her/him so much that i might die without him/her". Another example is that when we have to ask permission from anyone for having something we want very much, so we insist to have that thing. This situation is interpreted that "to beg like a dog".

Learn with The News

  • FILE - In this undated file image posted on Monday, June 30, 2014, by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islami

    Audio Growing Support in US for Campaign Against Islamic State

    The Pew Research Center has released a new public opinion survey. It shows a growing number of Americans support the military campaign against the group known as Islamic State. Americans also increasingly support the idea of sending U.S. ground troops to fight the group in Iraq and Syria. More

  • Video US West Coast Ports Working Again

    A labor dispute had slowed operations at more than 29 ports on the West Coast of the United States. Negotiators reached a deal that permitted work to restart. But, they are still working on details of the agreement. The work stoppage has slowed U.S. trade with Asian countries. More

  • lahore literary festival

    Video Pakistan Literary Festival Stands Up to Violence

    The Pakistani city of Lahore recently held a three-day literary festival. The event looked a lot like literary festivals in many other cities. But for some Pakistanis, its importance went beyond works of poetry and prose. For them, the show symbolized a fight against violent extremism. More

  • Kurdish fighters

    Audio Islamic State Kidnaps More than 200 Assyrian Christians

    Also, news reports say the Islamic State militant who appeared under face cover in several videos of hostage beheadings has been identified by his friends. And, the US Navy says it is now flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea. More

  • Video Pakistan Tightens School Security after Peshawar Attack

    More than 150 people, mostly children, were killed in the attack at a school in Peshawar last year. Pakistan authority tightens security to protect the schools. One method is to train teachers at Peshawar’s Frontier College for Women in a week-long class on using weapons. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Young Writer’s Plays Explore Race, Identity in America

    Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' latest play 'An Octoroon,' is showing at a theater in New York City. It is based on a 19th Century work by Dion Boucicault. It tells about a white man who falls in love with a woman who is part black. At the time, mixed race marriage was banned in southern US states. More

  • Audio Understanding the Misunderstood Teenage Brain

    A common battle cry of teenagers to adults is, "You just don't understand me!" Well, they might be right. A brain scientist (neuroscientist) and mother to two teenagers says the teenage brain is quite different from the adult brain. She "debunks," or clears up three common myths about teenagers. More

  • Audio Politics Share the Stage at the Oscars

    Racial equality was not the only political or disputed issue performers discussed last night. Some used their acceptances speeches to talk about immigration, women’s rights, illness, suicide and government surveillance. And the movie of an American sniper continues to fuel the debate. More

  • Video Technology Increases Chances of Surviving Aneurym

    Each year, half a million people die from brain aneurysms, -- when a blood vessel burst in the brain. For survivors, physical disabilities are often servere. They may include memory problems, loss of balance, trouble speaking and even blindness. But new technologies are increasing survival rates. More

  • Director Alejandro Inarritu accepts the Oscar for Best Director for his film "Birdman" at the 87th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, Feb. 22, 2015.

    'Birdman' Takes Oscars for Best Picture, Director

    The movie won four Academy Awards in all. 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' also earned four Oscars. The Best Actress award went to Julianne Moore for 'Still Alice' and Eddie Redmayne was honored with the Best Actor Oscar for his work in 'The Theory of Everything.' 'Whiplash' took home three Oscars. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs