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shaggy dog story

A long-winded anecdote that has a silly or anticlimactic ending. The old man was known for telling shaggy dog stories that made people groan and scratch their heads when he reached the ending.
See also: dog, shaggy, story

shaggy-dog Story

a kind of funny story that relies for its humor on its length and its sudden ridiculous ending. Don't let John tell a shaggy-dog story. It'll go on for hours. Mary didn't get the point of Fred's shaggy-dog story.
See also: story

shaggy-dog story

A long drawn-out anecdote with an absurd or anticlimactic ending. For example, At first he had us laughing wildly at his shaggy-dog stories, but after the third or fourth we found them tiresome . The term alludes to a well-known series of such stories, which involved a talking dog. [c. 1940]
See also: story

a shaggy-dog story

a long, rambling story or joke, especially one that is amusing only because it is absurdly inconsequential or pointless.
The expression, dating back to the 1940s, comes from the subject of one such anecdote, a dog with shaggy hair.
1993 New York Times Book Review The book has the unhurried pace of the best of the shaggy dog stories; the pleasure is all in the journey rather than the destination.
See also: story

a ˌshaggy-ˈdog story

(informal) a long, complicated story or joke, which has no proper ending and is not very funny: He told us this joke, which turned out to be a shaggy-dog story, and I hate those!This expression comes from the subject of one particular story of this kind, a dog with long, untidy (shaggy) hair.
See also: story
References in periodicals archive ?
As early as the 1970s Peter Brown and others sought to codify this benign evolutionary thesis into the formal field of "Late Antiquity," in which it was taboo to think of an abrupt erosion of culture or civilization, much less to prejudge shaggier peoples across the Danube and Rhine.
Even then, the parks may look a little bit shaggier.
This mistaken identity was not because his hair is much shaggier and his racket-breaking routines appear to be a thing of the past.
By 1965, peace has many tombstones, Eva can't tell Nel from Sula, and Shadrack makes a final appearance, a "little shaggier, a little older, still energetically mad" (173).
By comparison, billys have a prominent, high hump on their shoulder, a chunkier build and shaggier fur.
In the beginning, the Flange residence rises from a "big mossy tumulus out of the earth, its color that of one of the shaggier prehistoric beasts" (1984, 56); in the end, the dump is "sunk fifty feet below the streets of the sprawling housing development which surrounded it" (1984, 64).
Or, if still interesting, he disappoints his shaggier admirers by conforming as ecstatic soulmate, reverential son-in-law, and gladly house-broken husband who worries that friends will track mud over the expensive carpets.
Hokey Pokey Elmo: A new, shaggier Elmo takes up where Chicken