Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
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.
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.
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]
a shaggy-dog storya 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.