shaggy-dog story

Also found in: Dictionary.

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
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.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Whenever I've seen him outside of movies he was doing smart-ass impressions of an oboe or telling a shaggy-dog story in a weird accent, which made me view him as an upmarket Goon.
"And he was always good for a wry shaggy-dog story -- some unprintable but always funny," continued Estabrook, who shared train rides with him to early convention sites.
Keillor's gentle, shaggy-dog story humour is even more restrained than usual - with the tale of the Norwegian siamese twin dwarves; one of whom drinks alcohol while the other suffers the hangovers - being the only truly bizarre element.
In treading this delicate path, which stretches from the Enlightenment to the days of postmodernism, Carl Hill adopts a soft patter which steers a fine course between keeping the reader up to the witticist mark and succumbing to the more tortured of Freudian explanations, be it of the throw-away riposte or the shaggy-dog story. Before coming to 'the Viennese quack' himself (to utilize an unkind sobriquet furnished by Nabokov), we learn how the public space (a la Habermas and Eagleton) gave itself over to a form of Witz distilled by free association through Heine and Brode with a touch of Jean Paul and of Karl Marx: as the subtitle has it, 'from Grimm to Freud'.
We Think the World of You Tequila Sunrise Mississippi Burning The considerable, not always cozy charms of postwar British comedy merge with the nervier pleasures of new English cinema in We Think the World of You, Colin Gregg's shaggy-dog story of a man, the man he loves and the German shepherd that comes between them.
Shaggy-dog story, set in Dusseldorf, involves divorced actor Michael (Rene Hofschneider) and graphic artist Anna (Julia Richter), who get extremely well acquainted on the phone one night when the latter dials a wrong number.
Simplistic critics of early existentialism saw in the writings of its advocates what one of them called visionary vagrants, fellahin without fellowship, their lives a shaggy-dog story or, worse, a burp against all official culture and society.
A globetrotting shaggy-dog story with an amusingly anticlimactic payoff, "Total Love" plays like a tongue-in-cheek, slacker-skewing version of "Return to Paradise." Despite a few swaths of meandering, Israeli-produced pic is sufficiently engaging to generate interest on fest circuit.
One is tempted to label Molosse a shaggy-dog story in faux Creole; Jack London's dog stories, "The Hound of the Baskervilles," and even Hemingway's "Old Man and the Sea" resonate in the intextual interstices.