My dogs are barking

My dogs are barking is an American idiom. An idiom is a commonly used 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 common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, 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, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom my dogs are barking, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

My dogs are barking is a phrase that simply means my feet hurt. In this case, the word dogs means feet and the word barking means hurts. The expression my dogs are barking can be traced to journalist T. Dorgan, who worked for the New York Evening Journal. He coined many phrases, often using rhyming slang. Supposedly, the phrase dog meat became feet in this idiom. The term my dogs are barking was popularized throughout the world by American servicemen.


I wore Marco Rubio’s boots — and my dogs are barking (New York Daily News)

“My dogs are barking today,” actor John Candy says with almost palpable relief as he removes his shoes and socks in his airplane seat and rubs his feet, in a scene from the comedy movie “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”  (U.S. News)

The brand’s name comes from the saying ‘my dogs are barking’, meaning ‘my feet hurt’ (no, us neither – clearly a West Coast thing) and the collection addresses every fashionista’s big dilemma: what’s the cool alternative to the – yawn – ballet flat? (Marie Claire)

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