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"in the doghouse"

Posted by RRC on November 15, 2005

In Reply to: "In the doghouse" posted by Hilary Blower on November 15, 2005

: Does anyone know the origin of the expression "in the doghouse"? Could it have any connection with the following railroad practice.

: "Normally, freight operations required both a head-end brakeman and a brakeman at the rear of the train. Often, there wasn't a lot of extra room in the cab. The fireman didn't always like to share his seat with the brakeman and there wasn't really enough room to stand without getting in the way of the fireman. By 1937, new locomotives were built with enough room to seat the head-end brakeman in the cab. Older locomotives were modified during shopping with a small cabin on the top of the tender for the head-end brakeman. This was called a "doghouse"."

Both usages (the phrase and the locomotive's small cabin) refer to a small out building for the dog to sleep in. The longer version of the phrase usually has to do with "sleeping in the doghouse" and involves a spat between husband and wife which ends up with the husband sleeping in the doghouse (in reality, more likely on the couch/sofa) rather than in the marital bed. RRC