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[hang-dawg, -dog] /ˈhæŋˌdɔg, -ˌdɒg/
browbeaten; defeated; intimidated; abject:
He always went about with a hangdog look.
shamefaced; guilty:
He sneaked out of the room with a hangdog expression.
suitable to a degraded or contemptible person; sneaky; furtive.
Archaic. a degraded, contemptible person.
Origin of hangdog
1670-80; hang + dog
2. ashamed, contrite, crestfallen.
1. confident, assured. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hang-dog
Historical Examples
  • He then gave an involuntary sigh, and followed her with a hang-dog look.

  • "To cut your throat, you hang-dog scoundrel," said Sampson, irately.

    The Wreck of the Titan Morgan Robertson
  • The way his eyes avoid yours, his shifty, hang-dog manner, reminds me of certain other gentlemen whom I have seen.

  • They helped to throw people off their guard, and to conceal his hang-dog look.

    Roughing it in the Bush Susanna Moodie
  • Nancy told Aldo about the viatique, and he said, with a hang-dog air, he would go and ask for it.

    The Devourers Annie Vivanti Chartres
  • You may see this evidenced in their hang-dog faces as they "soldier" on their jobs.

    Manpower Lincoln Clarke Andrews
  • He was not alone, and the instant I spied him with two hang-dog fellows, I knew he was—like the hen in the story—“laying for me!”

    Swept Out to Sea W. Bertram Foster
  • Silently, with a hang-dog air, he followed her up to her room.

    The Burning Secret Stefan Zweig
  • His slow speech stung, but they both heard him out in hang-dog silence.

    The White Blackbird Hudson Douglas
  • His distress was so real that it gave him a hang-dog appearance.

    Margaret Ogilvy J. M. Barrie
British Dictionary definitions for hang-dog


downcast, furtive, or guilty in appearance or manner
a furtive or sneaky person
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 hang-dog

also hangdog, 1670s, "befitting a hang-dog," a despicable, degraded fellow, so called either from notion of being fit only to hang a dog (cf. cutthroat) or of being a low person (i.e. dog) fit only for hanging. As a noun from 1680s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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