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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
1530-1540
1530-40; translation of Latin diēs caniculārēs; see canicular
Related forms
dog-day, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for dogday

dog days

plural noun
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
Word Origin
C16: translation of Late Latin diēs caniculārēs, translation of Greek hēmerai kunades
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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Word Origin and History for dogday

dog days

n.

1530s, from Latin dies caniculares, from Greek; so called because they occur around the time of the heliacal rising of Sirius, the Dog Star (kyon seirios). 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 also was 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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dogday in Culture

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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Idioms and Phrases with dogday

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® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for dogday

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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