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the dog days
1. The period in the summer often thought to be hottest, usually considered to be July 3 to August 11. In ancient times, people associated the heat during this period with the concurrent rising of Sirius, nicknamed "the dog star." The phrase is a translation of the Latin dies caniculares, meaning "dog star days." As a kid, I loved lounging in the swimming pool during the dog days of summer.
2. By extension, a period of lethargy, inactivity, or stagnation. We're in the dog days of our fiscal year, and unfortunately we'll just have to make up for it during the holiday season.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Hot, sultry summer weather; also, a period of stagnation. For example, It's hard to get much work done during the dog days, or Every winter there's a week or two of dog days when sales drop dramatically. The term alludes to the period between early July and early September, when Sirius, the so-called Dog Star, rises and sets with the sun. The ancient Romans called this phenomenon dies caniculares, which was translated as "dog days" in the first half of the 1500s.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. Dog days are the hottest days of the year that occur in July and August in the northern hemisphere. In the country, midsummer marks the final burst of activity before the lazy, dog days of July and August. Note: The ancient Romans named these days `dies caniculares' or `dog days' because the Dog Star, Sirius, could be seen in the morning sky at this time of year. They believed that the combination of Sirius and the sun produced very hot weather.
2. The dog days of something is the end of the period in which it exists, when it is no longer successful or popular. He was a minister in the dog days of John Major's government.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
The hottest days of summer. This cliché is a literal translation from the Latin caniculares dies. The ancient Romans ascribed the apex of summer heat to the ascendancy of the dog star, or Sirius. The brightest star in the heavens, it is located in the constellation Canis Major, meaning “big dog.” Although modern meteorologists may scoff, the term has survived for nearly two thousand years.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer