Date: Tue, 5 Sep 1995 17:07:25 EDT


Subject: hung dogs

a shape-note singer in minneapolis (sooner or later all the

disparate threads of my life seem to come together) writes

to ask about the origins of "when all the dogs are hung"

meaning 'when things are over'. lighter under DOG gives

citations from 1867 on for "till/until all the dogs were

hung" meaning 'until the end or resolution', which i'll

take to be close enough to the original queried phrase

not to matter.

joan, i didn't find anything in DARE under DOG, but then

i did a very quick search and might have missed it. is there

anything in your files, maybe under TILL or UNTIL, or

possibly HUNG?

i would guess that the dogs in question are not our

canine friends but one of the many inanimate sorts of

dogs, capable of being hung (up). but which one, and

how did hanging them (up) come to signify the end of some


arnold (zwicky[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]