put on the dog, to

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put on the dog

To behave extravagantly, lavishly, or self-importantly; to make an ostentatious production or appearance. My wife always feels like she has to put on the dog whenever my parents come to visit. During the economic boom, you had people from all walks of life putting on the dog. All that ended when the crash hit, though.
See also: dog, on, put
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

put on the dog

 and put on the ritz
to make things extra special or dress formally for a special event. Frank's really putting on the dog for the big party Friday night. They really put on the ritz for us.
See also: dog, on, put
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

put on the dog

Also, put on the ritz. Behave in an elegant, extravagant manner, as in We'll have to put on the dog when our daughter's in-laws visit, or They really put on the ritz for the wedding reception. The allusion in the first of these slangy terms, first recorded in 1865, is unclear, although it has been suggested that the newly rich displayed their wealth by keeping pampered lapdogs. The second term, from the 1920s, alludes to the large, luxurious hotels founded by and named for César Ritz (1850-1918), which still exist in Paris, London, and many other major cities.
See also: dog, on, put
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.

put on the dog

AMERICAN, INFORMAL
If someone puts on the dog, they act as though they are rich or important. We were all earning good money, buying expensive suits and putting on the dog.
See also: dog, on, put
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

put on the dog

behave in a pretentious or ostentatious way. North American informal
Dog was late 19th-century US slang for ‘style’ or a ‘flashy display’.
1962 Anthony Gilbert No Dust in the Attic Matron put on a lot of dog about the hospital's responsibility.
See also: dog, on, put
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

put on the dog

and put on the ritz
tv. to make things extra special for a special event. Frank’s really putting on the dog for the big party Friday night. We’re going out tonight, and we’re really gonna put on the ritz.
See also: dog, on, put
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

put on the dog

Informal
To make an ostentatious display of elegance, wealth, or culture.
See also: dog, on, put
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

put on the dog, to

To put on a showy display. The term originated in America around the time of the Civil War, but its ultimate origin has been lost. At least one writer believes it came from the custom of the newly wealthy to display their prosperity by keeping extravagantly pampered pets. In any event, Lyman H. Bagg catalogued it as college slang in his Four Years at Yale (ca. 1869), in which he wrote, “To put on the dog is to make a flashy display, to cut a swell.”
See also: on, put
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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