Every dog has his day

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on September 09, 2005

In Reply to: Every dog has his day posted by Will on September 09, 2005

: Hi! Can you please tell me what "every dog has his day" means and where does it come from?

It means that all of us, no matter how humble, will have a time of prosperity, success, or glory at some time in our lives.

The first known use in English is in 1545 (in the form "A dogge hath a day") in a translation of a collection of "adages" or proverbs by the great Dutch humanist philosopher Erasmus that had been published in Latin in 1508. Erasmus didn't necessarily invent it himself; it may have been a traditional Dutch proverb. It obviously caught on - Erasmus was greatly admired and his books were much read at the time - because the future Queen Elizabeth I used it in exactly that form in a letter around 1550. About 50 years later Shakespeare used it in "Hamlet" in this form: "Let Hercules himself do what he may, The cat will mew and dog will have his day." (VSD)