prairie dog

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Etymology 1[edit]

prairie + dog (from their yelping alarm calls)


Prairie dogs

prairie dog (plural prairie dogs)

  1. Any of genus Cynomys, small, stout-bodied burrowing rodents with shallow cheek pouches, native to North America and Central America.

Further reading[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

By analogy with how the animal pops its head up from its burrow.

Alternative forms[edit]


prairie dog (third-person singular simple present prairie dogs, present participle prairie dogging, simple past and past participle prairie dogged)

  1. (intransitive, transitive) To pop up from a hole or similar in a manner that resembles the way a prairie dog pops his head up from his burrow.
    • 2017, Kory Stamper, Word By Word, Vintage, published 2018, page 11:
      People prairie-dog over the tops of their cubicles and call to their co-workers: “Hey, you going for a walk at lunch today?”
  2. (slang, euphemistic) To struggle to hold back an involuntary bowel movement.
    • 2001, Andy Breckman, Rat Race
      [Kimberly needs to go to the bathroom] Dad, I'm prairie dogging it! What the hell does that mean? You know, like when a prairie dog sticks his head in and out of the ground.
    • 2008, Adrien Clautrier with Rowe, Henry and Mack, Lindsay, Dirty French: Everyday Slang from "What's Up?" to "F*%# Off!"[2], Berkeley: Ulysses Press, →ISBN, →LCCN, page 54:
      I'm about to crap my pants.
      Je vais me faire au froc.
      I'm prairie-dogging it.
      J'ai le cigare au bout des lèvres.
      Literally, “the cigar is at the edge of my lips”
    • 2009, Brian J. Baker, Yuck! ...That Guy Didn't Wash His Hands!: The Complete Guide to the American Man's Bathroom Experience[3], American Bathroom Experience, →ISBN, page 150:
      [] Postin' Up On the Blaster / Power Dump / Prairie-Dogging it / Press a Loaf Purp []
    • 2011, David, Jr. Rivera, Harlem's Dragon: The Love You Can't Fight[4], Largo: Strebo Books, →ISBN, page 162:
      “Oh, God stop, stop,” Kat said, holding her side, “I'm starting to prairie dog.” [] “You know, prairie dogging,” Kat said, trying to explain between breaths. “When it pokes its head out of the hole and then back in, out and in, out and in.”
    • 2011, Various, David Mack, James Robinson, Ty Templeton, Alan Moore, Jeph Loeb, Kurt Busiek, Vampirella Masters Series 4: The Lost Tales
      ...They are gonna get a mouthful and a pantful. Crappin their shorts all the way into next week... Yeah those little bastards will be prairie dogging it all the way home!

See also[edit]

  • crown (see: medical definition)