Posted by ESC on September 08, 2001
In Reply to: Dog Days posted by anne on September 08, 2001
: Why is this term used to describe the very hot days of August, or of late summer? I just discovered this site. Is there a way to find things by subject in the Archives?
Yes, you can search the archives by typing in a keyword.
DOG DAYS -- "Mad dogs don't give us this name for the hot, close days of July and August, though perhaps the prevalence of mad dogs at that time of year has kept the phrase 'dog days' alive. The expression originated in Roman times as 'canicularius dies,' 'days of the dog,' and was an astronomical expression referring to the dog star Sirius, or possibly Procyon. The Romans linked the rising of the Dog Star, the most brilliant star in the constellation, 'Canis Major,' with the sultry summer heat, believing that the star added to the extreme heat of the sun. 'Canicular days,' of course, have nothing to do with heat from the Dog Star, but the ancient expression remains popular after more than 20 centuries." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).