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dog days


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English Word:

dog days

English Pronunciation:

dog days



Dog" days.

A period of from four to six weeks, in the summer, variously placed by almanac makers between the early part of July and the early part of September; canicular days; -- so called in reference to the rising in ancient times of the Dog Star (Sirius) with the sun. Popularly, the sultry, close part of the summer.

Note: The conjunction of the rising of the Dog Star with the rising of the sun was regarded by the ancients as one of the causes of the sultry heat of summer, and of the maladies which then prevailed. But as the conjunction does not occur at the same time in all latitudes, and is not constant in the same region for a long period, there has been much variation in calendars regarding the limits of the dog days. The astronomer Roger Long states that in an ancient calendar in Bede (died 735) the beginning of dog days is placed on the 14th of July; that in a calendar prefixed to the Common Prayer, printed in the time of Queen Elizabeth, they were said to begin on the 6th of July and end on the 5th of September; that, from the Restoration (1660) to the beginning of New Style (1752), British almanacs placed the beginning on the 19th of July and the end on the 28th of August; and that after 1752 the beginning was put on the 30th of July, the end on the 7th of September. Some English calendars now put the beginning on July 3d, and the ending on August 11th. A popular American almanac of the present time (1890) places the beginning on the 25th of July, and the end on the 5th of September.

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Attested in English since 1538, from Latin dies caniculares, translated from Ancient Greek; originally a reference to the hot summer days (in the Northern Hemisphere) when Sirius (the Dog Star), in Canis Major, rose and set with the Sun (heliacal rising). The Greeks also made reference to these "dog days", and for the ancient Egyptians, circa 3000 BCE, the rising of this star coincided with the summer solstice and the start of Nile flooding. The "dog" association apparently began here, as the star's hieroglyph was a dog, a watchdog for the flooding of the Nile.


dog days (normally plural, singular dog day) The days between early July and early September when Sirius (the Dog Star) rises and sets with the Sun. 2013 August 17, “A rickety rebound”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8849:  The dog days of August have often spelled trouble for the world economy. In 2011 America’s politicians flirted with default and the euro seemed to be heading for collapse. The summer of 2012 brought another bout of euro angst and depressing evidence that many emerging economies had stalled. But so far this season the good news has outweighed the bad. Hot, lazy days. A period of inactivity, laziness, or stagnation.


dog days

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