Date: Thu, 26 Feb 1998 12:08:42 -0500
From: Gregory {Greg} Downing downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]IS2.NYU.EDU
Subject: Re: RE "Till the last dog dies"

At 08:34 AM 2/26/98 -0800, several successive people wrote:
Peanuts strips . . . "Boy, that kid will stick around until the last dog
is hung."

"until the last dog is hung" must be considerably older than Peanuts. I
remember my father using the phrase (late 40s in Bellingham, WA).

Yes, indeed. My 78-year old mother tells me this expression was around in
the 1920s (Toronto, Ontario) and she remembers it vividly as 'til the last
dog is dead and the rope is put away.'

I've been wondering about this locution in spare moments, and am away from
my dictionaries today.... I don't believe anyone addressed the following
questions on this thread yet (he wrote, crossing his fingers):

(1) What kind of activity (if jocular) does this actually refer to? When do
people hang dogs? Or is it just a joke-scenario that never happens? If so,
what's the point of the joke? It certainly adds an unintended new overtone
to "hang-dog"....

(2) Isn't the past participle of hang "hung" in the phsyical sense of the
verb, and "hanged" in the sense of executing by rope? Or is that some just
normativism that I just happen to have seen arguments for a number of times
over the years? But nobody has mentioned any usage of "till the last dog is


Gregory {Greg} Downing, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]