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Gone to the Dogs: Origin and Meaning

dog proverb from rynski doggie dictionary

gone to the dogs

What it means: Deteriorated, became worse.

Variation: Gone to pot.

Another variation: Gone to hell in a handbasket (like my Grandma P. used to say).

Origin:

This expression is believed to have come from ancient China, where tradition dictated dogs weren’t allowed inside city walls. Stray canines hung around outside the walls, amid scraps and garbage.

When criminals and other ne’er-do-wells were expelled from the city, they ended up out with the trash and stray canines. Hence, they had gone to the dogs.

Author’s note:

The above excerpt is from The Rynski Doggie Dictionary. It’s also one of the expressions mentioned on-air when Rynski was a guest on Prince J’s DowntownRadio show. Thanks, Prince J, it was fantastic meeting you. I had a blast!

Spiffy call to action:

Love words, proverbs, origins and/or dogs? Get more of the same in The Rynski Doggie Dictionary. Buy now on Amazon or Etsy.

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