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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
References in periodicals archive ?
To some degree, the book's shagginess is simply an artifact of Fischel's breadth of interest; it would be difficult indeed to juggle so many subjects and approaches without dropping a few connections.
The relatively few thatched roofs that we have left tend to be thatched in foreign water-reed which is cheap and easy to apply but has none of the rustic shagginess of an authentic roof.