shaggy-dog story


Also found in: Dictionary.

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
References in periodicals archive ?
DIRECTOR/WRITER M Night Shyamalan's slow-moving but effective shaggy-dog story about a 19th-century village surrounded by a forest in which live creepy beings.
Whenever I've seen him outside of movies he was doing smart-ass impressions of an oboe or telling a shaggy-dog story in a weird accent, which made me view him as an upmarket Goon.
And he was always good for a wry shaggy-dog story -- some unprintable but always funny," continued Estabrook, who shared train rides with him to early convention sites.
Keillor's gentle, shaggy-dog story humour is even more restrained than usual - with the tale of the Norwegian siamese twin dwarves; one of whom drinks alcohol while the other suffers the hangovers - being the only truly bizarre element.
When the "Doctor" called with his customary shaggy-dog story about lost bags, cellular phones, and busy pagers, and asked for an outside line, the hotel was alert to the scam and refused to place the call.
Yes, ``Warm Water'' is a shaggy-dog story, but one with a real heart beating beneath the sniggering.
Simplistic critics of early existentialism saw in the writings of its advocates what one of them called visionary vagrants, fellahin without fellowship, their lives a shaggy-dog story or, worse, a burp against all official culture and society.