shaggy dog story

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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 ?
Police Community Support Officer Mr Jarrett, aged 40, soon found out that there was more to this shaggy dog story.
Since this is a shaggy dog story it's expected that not everything makes sense, and there's a bit of a mystery that isn't resolved at the end, when we're not permitted to hear a conversation between Ben and the president.
Sidney's shaggy dog story had to come to an end; Sidney the sheep finally got sheared
But I suppose if someone told us to invest pounds 10 and earn millions in return we would think it was a shaggy dog story.
Nothing is likely to sway us more than a callous response to a shaggy dog story.
According to the equation, if a joke is long in the style of a shaggy dog story, the punchline does not have to be as funny as a shorter wisecrack.
Last year, for example, the shaggy dog story Beethoven was a moderate success at the box office, earning about $40 million.
This elaborately executed sci-fi shaggy dog story is played for laughs - director Joe Dante is a dab hand at that.
Penned by Mark Gatiss, this is a real shaggy dog story but it allows Benedict Cumberbatch to pose moodily atop a large rock on the moors in his big flapping coat and give Sherlock the chance to exercise his super power of Noticing Stuff.
A shaggy dog story involving a case of mistaken identity
NO SHAGGY DOG STORY Left, Ann Marie Burns who owns Top Trimz dog grooming salon in Leadgate, and below, with Carla, a Bichon Frise
Marmaduke is a shaggy dog story that contrasts the eponymous canine's journey of self-discovery with workaholic Phil's realisation that he is putting his work with Don Twombly (Macy) ahead of his loved ones.
Curley's shaggy dog story BARNEY CURLEY'S movements tend to be swathed in mystery with the fewest number of people knowing his business the better, although he is finding it quite hard to go under the radar at the moment.
And Broadsides' jolly, musical instrument-wielding ensemble In the midst of the mayhem is Andy Cryer's Chaucer, watching and writing - until the show's final jest where the famous writer 8/10 shaggy dog story