The Expression ‘Dog Days’

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by exchemist, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    We have a heatwave, in Brittany where I am passing my summer holiday, the French for which is ‘la canicule’.

    I was pondering the origin of this and suddenly thought it might be related to the English expression ‘Dog Days’. And it is......it comes from Latin dies caniculares, literally puppy days. The Romans got from the Greeks the idea that the star that follows Orion ( the Hunter) in rising is the Dog, also called Sirius, which apparently means ‘scorcher’ in Greek (seirios). Sirius rises in mid July, when the Mediterranean summer is getting to its hottest.

    French has slightly detached it from its place in the calendar, to mean a heatwave, regardless of the time of year.

    I find making connections of this kind helps me to remember a new word, in this case la canicule.

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    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
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  3. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    And
    I had thought that the dog days were when it was so hot that the dogs just lay about in the shade panting...?
     
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, I thought that as well, until I started wondering about la canicule.
     
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  7. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    It's interesting to note that some version of the Latin made its way into some European languages, while others picked up the meaning and translated it to their own word for dog. It must have come the Americas as a phrase unconnected to astronomy, since both the night sky and the climate were quite different in the colonies.
     
  8. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    From which they derived Deputy Dawg

     
  9. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    Deputy dawgs hat = jesuit priests hat

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