wags the dog meaning

To wag the dog means to distract attention away from a political scandal, often through military action. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! Definition of the tail wagging the dog in the Idioms Dictionary. “Will someone teach @realDonaldTrump how to wag the dog without actually going to war?”, “My fear is that Trump is doing this so that in our outrage we miss what his real agenda is. There is a popular saying which goes "a dog is smarter than its tail, but if the tail were smarter, then the tail would wag the dog". Directed by Barry Levinson. It stems from the generic use of the term to mean a small and seemingly unimportant entity (the tail) controls a bigger, more important one (the dog). [Laughter]— The Baltimore Sun, 4 May 1868, The idiom appears in a variety of forms over the next hundred years or so, typically in the sense of ‘a less important thing controlling a more important one.’, Ordinarily the resolution is of more importance than the preamble, but here the relation is reversed. Sometimes words or phrases come into English from the world of film, as in paparazzi (the plural form of a word for a type of freelance photographer) taken from the name of a character in Fellini’s 1959 film La dolce vita. While this is usually true, there are times when a dog wags its tail just before it becomes aggressive. Research by Gary Martin for the UK-based website Phrase Finder first finds the expression in an 1872 local newspaper, The Daily Republican : “Calling to mind Lord Dundreary’s conundrum, the Baltimore American thinks that for the Cincinnati Convention to control the Democratic party would be the tail … Biden sworn in as 46th President, impeach To 'wag the dog' means to purposely divert attention from what would otherwise be of greater importance, to something else of lesser significance. Definitions by the largest Idiom Dictionary. that will help our users expand their word mastery. Wag the Dog The phrase “the tail that wags the dog” dates to the turn of the century. The term 'wag the dog' comes from the expression that a dog is smarter than its tail, but if the tail were smarter than the dog, the tail would be in control. They reorganized their entire weekly schedule just because their son likes to sleep in late. Redefine your inbox with Dictionary.com updates. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. Definition and synonyms of the tail wagging the dog from the online English dictionary from Macmillan Education.. Donald Trump seems ready to wag … note 4] is at the head of his party, and Mr. Blaine [cf. This is the British English definition of the tail wagging the dog.View American English definition of the tail wagging the dog.. Change your default dictionary to American English. Canines know many variations of the “tail wag” and they all mean different things. Others have come from the world of theater, such as malapropism (“a usually humorous misapplication of a word or phrase”), from the name of a character in Richard Sheridan’s 1775 play The Rivals. Though indeed tail wagging can express positive emotions, tail wagging is also an indication of fear, insecurity, challenging of dominance, establishing social relationships, or a warning that the dog may bite. Ambassador Nikki Haley's recent warning to the United Nations Security Council that civil unrest in Nicaragua poses a threat to the stability of Central America may have set the stage for Donald Trump's "Wag the Dog" moment.— The Jackson Sun (Jackson, TN), 13 Sept. 2018. The phrase in discussion is the shorter version of the same. The tail wagging the dog is an American idiom that dates back to at least the 1870s. rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of wag the dog Pups aren’t born knowing what a wagging tail means any more than a newborn baby understands words. the tail wagging the dog phrase. What does wag the dog mean? According to research Barry Popik, the variation, don’t let the tax tail wag the investment dog, emerged in the 1960s to caution businesspeople against making decisions solely on the bases of tax concerns. Dun Because the tail can’t waggle the dog. Dogs wag their tail to communicate with humans and other animals. Wag the dog is, in politics, the act of creating a diversion from a damaging issue. I say yes.”— Michael Hirsch, Politico, 12 May 2014, U.S. Tail wagging is also a social indicator, which means that a dog won't wag their tail unless they're around other dogs or humans. the tail wagging the dog meaning: 1. a situation in which a large group has to do something to satisfy a small group 2. a situation…. Before the film Wag the Dog and its allusive application to the Clinton scandal, the idiom wag the dog was more commonly used with or in reference to the full phrase, the tail wagging the dog, i.e., a reversal of proper roles. Delivered to your inbox! The tail wagging the dog is an idiom that usually refers to something important or powerful being controlled by something less so. By doing so, the lesser-significant event is catapulted into the limelight, drowning proper attention to what was originally the more important issue. Wag the dog can be used as a verb or an adjective. Shortly before an election, a spin-doctor and a Hollywood producer join efforts to fabricate a war in order to cover up a Presidential sex scandal. The story intruded into real politics not long after its release. Here's a fun fact: The direction your dog is wagging their tail is a tell-tale tell (try saying that ten times fast). Most people comprehend the wagging tail of a dog as an invitation to approach. note 6], and other occurrences all over the country, indicate that this is one of the rare cases where the tail will wag the dog, and not the dog … Origin of Tail Wagging the Dog This expression first appeared in the 1800s. For example, the faster the speed, the more excited the dog – that’s obvious. 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