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Dog and pony show

A dog and pony show is a presentation that is overly elaborate, consisting of many attention-getting elements. The phrase dog and pony show is usually a pejorative, it is a reference to a presentation that employs distracting techniques to make the performance appear grander than it truly is. The term dog and pony show first appeared in the United States in the 1880s, referring to small, traveling circuses that largely consisted of acts involving trained dogs and ponies. In the 1960s the idiom dog and pony show was first used figuratively to describe an event where elaborate, attention-getting elements are employed to distract from the smallness or lack of depth of the operation. Today, dog and pony show is often used to describe a political campaign event or a commercial promotional enterprise. When used as an adjective before a noun, the idiom is hyphenated as in dog-and-pony-show.


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Examples

Lalka said he was on the committee looking over the resumes, and it was a “dog and pony show,” and most candidates did not run in the election. (The Buffalo News)

Carr said he begrudged campaigning as a “dog and pony show” and then hit at not only the current administration, but also the Republican leadership. (The Lebanon Democrat)

As promised, United Airlines rolled out its Polaris international business class dog and pony show in Chicago today. (The Chicago Business Journal)

So the day goes by without DeMar officially signing – not a huge surprise – and now everyone’s out in Vegas for the Summer League so who knows when they’ll get the other move made so they can get back for a dog and pony show. (The Toronto Star)

Hall said the same day Veolia was in Flint giving a “Power Point dog and pony show” on its preliminary report, the city tested the water of resident Lee-Anne Walters. (The Detroit News)

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