junkyard dog

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junkyard dog (plural junkyard dogs)

  1. (literally) An aggressive dog which guards a scrapyard or junkyard.
  2. (idiomatic, by extension, hyphenated when used attributively) An animal or person with an especially nasty and combative demeanor.
    • 1992, Janice Castro, "With Friends Like These ...," Time, 21 Sept.:
      House minority whip . . . Gingrich has earned enmity in abundance for his junkyard-dog tactics.
    • 2004, Peter Maravelis, San Francisco Noir, →ISBN, p. 50:
      "I'm gonna hire me a lawyer," he said. "A real junkyard dog."
  3. A hot dog laden with toppings, such as onions, pineapples, or chili