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Aug 31, 2009
This week's theme
Animal terms

This week's words
bird-dog
wildcatter
frogmarch
mawkish
shrew
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Five years ago we adopted a dog we named Flower. At first, we were overwhelmed -- puppy training classes, cleaning, walks, vets, and so on -- but once things fell into a rhythm, it became easy.

A dog doesn't need much: a little food, a little walk, a little rub behind the ears, and a pooch is the happiest creature in the world. Keeping a dog is easy, as long as you budget to replace all your carpets every few years.

This week we'll see words derived from animals, words where dogs and cats, pets and wild animals, insects and mammals, are used metaphorically.

bird-dog

PRONUNCIATION:
(burd-dog)

MEANING:
noun: A talent scout, especially in sports.
verb tr., intr.: To seek out or follow a subject of interest.

ETYMOLOGY:
After bird dogs, various breeds of dogs trained to hunt or retrieve birds.

USAGE:
"Kindly Cal Murphy, evaluating talent for the Indianapolis Colts these days, has been studiously tracking Wake. Fred Fleming, a bird-dog for Denver's Broncos, too."
George Johnson; Lion Lives for Sacking QBs; Calgary Herald (Canada); Nov 12, 2008.

"But the sheer complexity of the stimulus measure makes it difficult to bird-dog."
Michael Scherer; What Happened to the Stimulus?; Time (New York); Jul 13, 2009.

See more usage examples of bird-dog in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth. -Fyodor Dostoevsky, novelist (1821-1881)

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