Dog Tired

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One of many idioms related to being tired, with origins in the mid-1500's.


To be dog tired means to be extremely tired, exhausted, worn out. Synonym for dead on your feet and dead tired. When you are dog tired, you just want to go right to sleep.



"I'd love to play video games with you but it's been a long day and I'm dog tired."

"We were all dog tired after the long march, but the day wasn't over yet."


Although dog tired wasn't recorded in print until 1770, another version dog-weary appeared in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew in 1594:

"O master, master, I have watch'd so long That I am dog-weary!"

This variant may suggest an origin of at least the mid-1500's. Since 'dog' has long been used as an intensifier in many idioms, such an early origin would not be surprising. Observations of dogs have long caused us to compare them to our own human characteristics or feelings.

Dog tired alludes to being as tired as a working dog such as a herding dog, hunting dog, etc. When a dog is worked hard all day, they just plop down and go to sleep, preferably in their favorite place but failing that, anywhere. A tired dog doesn't exchange good-nights and doesn't even eat, he just goes to sleep. This is exactly what the idiom dog tired means, i.e. too tired to do anything but go straight to bed, if not to pass out where you stand.

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