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bird dog

one of any of various breeds of dogs trained to hunt or retrieve birds.
Informal. a person hired to locate special items or people, especially a talent scout who seeks out promising athletes.
Slang. a person who steals another person's date.
Origin of bird dog
1885-90, Americanism


[burd-dawg, -dog] /ˈbɜrdˌdɔg, -ˌdɒg/
verb (used with object), bird-dogged, bird-dogging. Informal.
to follow, watch carefully, or investigate.
to seek out.
verb (used without object), bird-dogged, bird-dogging.
Informal. to follow or watch carefully.
Slang. to steal or attempt to steal another person's date.
v. use of bird dog Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bird dog
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had reached a spot where for a few weeks every winter the bird dog is undisputed king.

    Frank of Freedom Hill Samuel A. Derieux
  • I've given him every chance and I find he's hopeless as a bird dog.

    The Dogs of Boytown Walter A. Dyer
  • He didn't know that a bird dog feels the same when it gets to the uplands where the quail are hiding.

    The Voice of the Pack Edison Marshall
  • It's a real sport in which all the powers of a bird dog are brought into play.

    The Dogs of Boytown Walter A. Dyer
  • Never, declared Tom, could a dog smell birds so far; never did bird dog have a nose that told him so exactly where they were.

    Frank of Freedom Hill Samuel A. Derieux
  • It's detrimental to allow a bird dog to roam and go self-hunting.

    Hunting Dogs Oliver Hartley
  • You never can tell what kind of a bird dog a setter will make till you've tried him out.

    The Dogs of Boytown Walter A. Dyer
  • If you confess the importance of race and pedigree in a race horse and a bird dog how dare you deny it in a man?

  • A bird dog belonging to a man in Mulvane disappeared last week.

    Toaster's Handbook Peggy Edmund and Harold W. Williams, compilers
British Dictionary definitions for bird dog

bird dog

(hunting) a dog used or trained to retrieve game birds after they are shot
verb -dogs, -dogging, -dogged
(informal) to control closely with unceasing vigilance
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for bird dog

bird dog

noun phrase

  1. A person, like a detective, talent scout, etc, whose job is to find something or someone (1930+)
  2. A chaperon at a dance or a third person on a date, appointed to be vigilant (1930s+ Students)
  3. A tactical officer, enforcing order and discipline (1930s+ Service academy)
  4. A fighter or interceptor aircraft
  5. An aircraft that spotted and marked targets (WWII Army Air Forces)
  6. The automatic direction-finding instrument of an aircraft (1970s+ Airline)
  7. A radar detector: The cop is sitting there with a bird dog (1970s+ Citizens band)


  1. To act asa bird dog: Leo Browne was doing some ''bird-dogging'' for the Yankees (1930+)
  2. To seduce or go out with another girl's boyfriend: Sorry to bird-dog you, but the guy asked me to the spring concert (1990s+ Teenagers)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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