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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 ?
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.
I fervently attacked my menacing hide of beastly shagginess and managed to pull off a state of continuous hairlessness for over a year.
God knows where this fear comes from--perhaps it's my very shagginess, the air I seem to give off, with my long hair and blue shop coat, of being a rough guy, that makes them fluff their feathers and nest more defensively over the egg of their pretensions.