dog days

noun
1.
the sultry part of the summer, supposed to occur during the period that Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun: now often reckoned from July 3 to August 11.
2.
a period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence.

Origin:
1530–40; translation of Latin diēs caniculārēs; see canicular

dog-day, adjective
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Collins
World English Dictionary
dog days
 
pl n
1.  the hot period of the summer reckoned in ancient times from the heliacal rising of Sirius (the Dog Star)
2.  a period marked by inactivity
 
[C16: translation of Late Latin diēs caniculārēs, translation of Greek hēmerai kunades]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

dog days
1538, from L. dies caniculares, from Gk. (the star was also known as kyon seirios) are around the time of the heliacal rising of Sirius (q.v.), the Dog-star, noted as the hottest and most unwholesome time of the year; usually July 3 to Aug. 11, but variously calculated, depending
on latitude and on whether the greater Dog-star (Sirius) or the lesser one (Procyon) is reckoned. The heliacal rising of Sirius has shifted down the calendar with the precession of the equinoxes; in ancient Egypt c.3000 B.C.E. it coincided with the summer solstice, which was also the new year and the beginning of the inundation of the Nile. The "dog" association apparently began here (the star's hieroglyph was a dog), but the reasons for it are obscure.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

dog days definition


The hot, muggy days of summer. The Romans associated such weather with the influence of Sirius, the dog star, which is high in the sky during summer days.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

dog days

Hot, sultry summer weather; also, a period of stagnation. For example, It's hard to get much work done during the dog days, or Every winter there's a week or two of dog days when sales drop dramatically. The term alludes to the period between early July and early September, when Sirius, the so-called Dog Star, rises and sets with the sun. The ancient Romans called this phenomenon dies caniculares, which was translated as "dog days" in the first half of the 1500s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

dog days

periods of exceptionally hot and humid weather that often occur in July, August, and early September in the northern temperate latitudes. The name originated with the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians; they believed that Sirius, the dog star, which rises simultaneously with the Sun during this time of the year, added its heat to the Sun's and thereby caused the hot weather. Their belief that dogs were subject to spells of madness at this time also may have contributed to the name. Because people tended to become listless during the dog days, Sirius was held to have a detrimental effect on human activities

Learn more about dog days with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
With the dog days of summer upon us, things are heating up, especially cars and
  buildings with windows to soak up the sun's rays.
From this, the authors conclude that the dog days of summer made them dumber.
The dog days of summer are here, and many people are feeling the heat.
And dessert soups have a place even as the dog days wane and autumn fruits
  emerge.
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