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Dog-ear is an idiom that is surprisingly old. We will examine the meaning of the idiom dog-ear, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

To dog-ear means to turn down the corner of a page of a book so that one may easily find that page again. The image is of a dog’s ear that folds downward. Dog-ear may be used as a noun to mean the folded-down corner of a page of a book, or as a verb, to mean to fold down the corner of a page of a book. Related words are dog-ears, dog-eared, dog-earing. Note that in all inflections, the word is hyphenated. Note that dog-earing is spelled with only one “r.” The term dog-ear came into use in the mid-1600s.


There is one aside which caused me to dog-ear the page, and I never dog-ear pages of hardcover books; a casually included comparison to part of his early life as a hustler, mainly of pirated music, but if it paid, selling anything would do. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Dog-ear the page that I had circled, and then when I was done going through the book that way, then I’d go back to every dog-eared page and type notes on everything that I’d circled. (The Columbia Journalism Review)

I dog-eared pages, wrote notes in the margins, highlighted, doodled and inscribed my name on all books that entered my personal library, even if they weren’t meant to stay there. (The Homer News)