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mastiff

[mas-tif, mah-stif] /ˈmæs tɪf, ˈmɑ stɪf/
noun
1.
one of a breed of large, powerful, short-haired dogs having an apricot, fawn, or brindled coat.
Origin of mastiff
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English mastif, perhaps extracted from Anglo-French masti(n)s (taken as *mastifs), plural of Old French mastin < Vulgar Latin (canis) *ma(n)suētīnus, derivative of Latin mansuētus tame, mild (see mansuetude)
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mastiff
Historical Examples
  • First thing I knew I heard Bertha calling at the top of her little voice to the mastiff.

  • The piece which the mastiff had torn from his hose did not discourage Boxtel.

    The Black Tulip Alexandre Dumas (Pere)
  • The mastiff Bow-wow had accompanied his mistress to her new home; but Bow-wow's best days were done.

    Aurora Floyd, Vol. I (of 3) M. E. (Mary Elizabeth) Braddon
  • Ramiro looked at his interlocutor, as the mastiff may look at the lap dog.

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • As for Fessenden's, then, he was less fortunate than the Judge's mastiff.

  • He was very wayward at times, but always faithful as a mastiff dog to me.

    The Shellback's Progress Walter Runciman
  • Unlike the bull-dog, the mastiff always warns before he attacks.

    Anecdotes of Dogs Edward Jesse
  • The enmity between the lapdog and the mastiff is an old story.

  • I have known of the cross between them and the mastiff being taught to follow the scent of a man almost as truly as a bloodhound.

    Dog Breaking William Nelson Hutchinson
  • In size, the largest does not exceed the dimensions of an English mastiff.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for mastiff

mastiff

/ˈmæstɪf/
noun
1.
an old breed of large powerful short-haired dog, usually fawn or brindle with a dark mask
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, ultimately from Latin mansuētus tame; see mansuetude
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 mastiff
n.

large, powerful breed of dog, early 14c., from Old French mastin (Modern French mâtin) or Provençal mastis, both from Vulgar Latin *mansuetinus "domesticated, tame," from Latin mansuetus "tame, gentle" (see mansuetude). Probably originally meaning a dog that stays in the house, thus a guard-dog. Form in English perhaps influenced by Old French mestif "mongrel."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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