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The patient dog gets the fattest bone

Posted by Smokey Stover on March 18, 2010 at 17:36

In Reply to: The patient dog posted by O. Ima Kagho on March 15, 2010 at 08:42:

: What is the origin and meaning of the phrase 'The patient dog eats the fatteth (or is it fattest?) bone'?

It appears to be "an African saying." It is called that on a Website devoted to Michael Jackson, see:

But it also appears in the blogs or posts of some African authors, always identified, if at all, as a saying. It probably has to do with the behavior of dogs in wild packs, but perhaps not. It may not be true, but without knowing the exact origin it's impossible to say.

The message is something like: Patience has its own reward, whether it's the fattest bone or some other triumph. Patience in the face of adversity will be rewarded.

The superlative (e.g., fattest) can be achieved by adding the -est suffix, unless there is already an established superlative form. The -th or -eth suffix is used in ordinal numbers, except where an alternative already exists (as in first, second and third).