"So that's the crux of the matter"

November 15, 2023

"So that's the crux of the matter!"

Where the dog is buried - Curious idioms about man's best friend

The dog - at man's side for thousands of years and an integral part of our everyday lives. It's no wonder that over the course of time a number of idioms have developed around the faithful four-legged friend. As Riva - our little agency diva - a crazy little street dog from Romania is also part of our everyday office life, we rummage a little in the box of origin of these quirky dog proverbs.

Dog tired

Let's start with the classic "dog tired". Every dog owner knows that our fluffy friends are great lovers of naps. On average, a dog needs 16 hours of sleep and rest per day. Accordingly, the four-legged friends can still blink tired and sleepy after a good night's rest. The origin of this saying is therefore quite clear - when we feel "dog-tired", we can easily empathize with our faithful animal friends in their need for rest.

Dog weather

Another expression is "dog weather". Hunters once coined this term because their hunting dogs were less able to pick up the scent of game in rainy weather. What's more, the cold and wet conditions were particularly hard on the poor animals when they had to stay outside. No wonder, then, that the dogs whimpered and barked discontentedly in such unfriendly weather. So "dog weather" was a clear signal for the hunters to stay at home.

That's the crux of the matter

The origin of the phrase "there lies the dog buried" is not quite so clear. According to one popular theory, the expression dates back to the Middle Ages. Back then, the head of a dog often adorned the bottom of treasure chests to guard the money. If the dog was visible, the coffers were practically empty - the financial misery obvious. The saying thus figuratively points to the actual cause of a problem.

Get on the dog

And what if we "got on the dog"? Here, too, there are several theories about the origin. Again, in the Middle Ages, a dog was depicted on the bottom of chests. If it appeared, the money had run out and you had literally "gone to the dogs". Another explanation is that destitute farmers had no horse and cart and therefore had to have their wagons pulled by dogs - a sign of abject poverty.

Regardless of the origin, one thing is certain: the dog has become deeply ingrained in our language and idioms. Whether tired or weather-beaten, a symbol of poverty or a faithful guardian of money - man's best friend has always shaped our linguistic culture. With this in mind: what are you waiting for, get out into the fresh air with your dog ;D