dog and pony show (UNCLASSIFIED)

Michael Quinion wordseditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Tue Nov 30 10:22:02 UTC 2010

Bill Mullins wrote

> "Dog and Pony show" n. literal; OED sense 1. OED has 1914
> _Atchison Daily Globe_ Oct 19 1885 p 3 col 1
> "Prof. Morris' dog and pony show, is billed in Atchison for Wednesday
> night."

Did you mean to type 19 October? I've found the quotation, also on page
3/1, from 9 October.

This next one would seem to be a precursor of the figurative sense,
showing a dismissive attitude to these unsophisticated, often small-scale
entertainments. It is a Google Books snippet which needs checking, though
searches within the document suggest that the publication date is correct;
the volume number is the right one for the year.

1940 The Survey (Survey Associates, Charity Organization Society of the
City of New York) vol 76 p214
Naturally, not all the sessions of these annual meetings have been good,
but over the years surprisingly few of them have been valueless. This
means that the published record presents a picture of the latest
performance in one ring of the American broadcasting circus. The institute
is not a Ringling Brothers production in its own chosen subject field, hut
it is not an itinerant dog and pony show either.

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list