Love me, love my dog is an idiom that may be older than you think. An idiom is a word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the idiom love me, love my dog, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.
Love me, love my dog is an idiom that means to accept someone unconditionally. Love me, love my dog means that you must accept that person’s faults, quirks, and annoying habits in order to wholeheartedly love that person. The origin of the expression love me, love my dog is credited to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who used the idiom in a sermon; however, Saint Bernard calls the phrase “He who loves me, also loves my dog,” a common proverb of the time. Saint Bernard, a French monk, lived and worked in the 1100s, so the idiom love me, love my dog came into use sometime before that.
It was lovely, but I’d gone on about Buddy so much Jon could be in no doubt it was a case of love me, love my dog. (The Mirror)
“Love me, love my dog, and if you don’t love my dog you damn well can’t love me,” muttered a furious Churchill in 1941, after a member of the House of Commons had raised questions about the Prof’s influence. (Scientific American Magazine)
“Love me, love my dog” was not the workplace ethos of a generation or two ago. (Forbes Magazine)