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Aug 14, 2017
This week’s theme
Words from animals

This week’s words
dog days
lionize
chicken hawk
blackbird
spread-eagle

Flower the dog
Flower enjoying the dog days of summer

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

My dog Flower is water-shy. Whenever I announce that it’s time for a bath, she tries to run to a distant corner. I have to speak in whispers or spell out the word -- b-a-t-h -- lest she catch on and run away.

Well, as I put shampoo on her fur, I try to tell her that cleanliness is next to Dogliness and she seems to understand. If there were a heaven, I imagine it would be populated with animals, not humans, considering how we treat animals -- and I’m not talking about giving them a bath. In circuses, zoos, labs, factory farms, and slaughterhouses, sentient animals become things for us to use.

This week’s A.Word.A.Day is heavenly -- you’ll meet dogs, lions, chickens, and birds.

dog days

PRONUNCIATION:
(dog dayz)

MEANING:
noun:
1. The hottest period of the summer.
2. A period of stagnation, lethargy, inactivity, or decline.

ETYMOLOGY:
A translation of Latin dies caniculares (puppy days), from Greek kunades hemarai (dog days), so called because Sirius, the Dog Star, rises and sets with the sun around this time of the year. The ancient Romans and Greeks considered this period unhealthy and unlucky. The star got its name from Greek seirios (scorching). Earliest documented use: 1538.

NOTES:
Due to precession (gradual shift in the Earth’s axis of rotation), the dog days have shifted since the time of ancient Romans and Greeks. In about 10,000 years, dog days will fall in winter. Enjoy them while you can.
This may be an apt time to say that astrology should be spelled as b-u-n-k. Things have moved around there since astrology was invented. Constellations ain’t where they used to be. You weren’t born under the zodiac sign you think you were. The fault, dear reader, is not in our stars. Or planets. Jupiter has no effect whatsoever on you. This was a public service announcement. You’re welcome.

USAGE:
“Jeremy Heywood made his name in the 1990s, during the dog days of the last Conservative government.”
The Unsung Radical; The Economist (London, UK); Feb 10, 2011.

See more usage examples of dog days in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things. -Russell Baker (b. 14 Aug 1925)

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