could not get elected dogcatcher

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

US, 1880s.

Verb[edit]

could not get elected dogcatcher

  1. (idiomatic, US, politics) Is unpopular, particularly of politicians.
    • 1889, Weekly Courier Journal (Louisville, Kentucky):
      [president Grover Cleveland is] so unpopular in Washington that he could not be elected dog catcher for the district.
    • 2007, Robert Ludlum, The Bancroft Strategy, page 348
      Men like him couldn't get elected dogcatcher. He was a natural lieutenant, not a leader, and it was a fact he accepted with neither bitterness nor regret.

Usage notes[edit]

Dogcatcher is virtually never an elected office (only one elected dogcatcher office exists, in Duxbury, Vermont); the phrase is hyperbole, using dogcatcher to indicate “the most lowly conceivable office”.

References[edit]