Posted by Capable wingnut on December 11, 2001
In Reply to: Putting on the dog posted by Maggie on December 11, 2001
: What's thy origin and what's it mean?
Put on (the) dog is an expression that means 'to make a display of wealth or importance, especially by dressing stylishly and flashily'. It's similar in meaning to the later expression put on the ritz.
Put on (the) dog dates back to American college slang of the 1860's and is recorded in Lyman H. Bagg's Four Years at Yale : "Dog, style, splurge. To put on dog is to make a flashy display, to cut a swell." At about the same time, the related adjective doggy was a popular slang term meaning 'attractively stylish; costly; fancy'.