put on the dog

Idioms & Phrases

put on the dog

Also, put on the ritz. Behave in an elegant, extravagant manner, as in We'll have to put on the dog when our daughter's in-laws visit, or They really put on the ritz for the wedding reception. The allusion in the first of these slangy terms, first recorded in 1865, is unclear, although it has been suggested that the newly rich displayed their wealth by keeping pampered lapdogs. The second term, from the 1920s, alludes to the large, luxurious hotels founded by and named for César Ritz (1850-1918), which still exist in Paris, London, and many other major cities.

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