Neutral Names
name description


A Battle Won:

this expression indicates that, although there is still a lot to do before something is achieved, a positive step forward has been taken. E.g. "Even if the war has not been won, at least a battle has"

A Bee In Her/His Bonnet:

a fixed idea, a recurring theme in someone's thinking or conversation."She constantly complains about the rudeness of young people. She talks about it morning, noon and night. She has a real bee in her bonnet about it." A "bonnet" is an old-fashioned word for a woman's hat and is seldom used nowadays in reference to a hat. It conjures up visions of a Jane Austen heroine or Tess of the d'Urbervilles more than a creation by Alexander McQueen. However, the expression can equally be used in connection with men who have pet hates.

A Bientôt:

French for "See you soon" or "Bye for now". Perhaps the name would be best for a French breed but could be used by those who, like me, love France.

A Bird In The Hand:

part of the well-known phrase "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush". It means that if you have something already, do not sacrifice it for something which is admittedly better but which you may not necessarily get. Be content with what you have. Obviously this name would best suit a hunting dog in view of the reference to birds.

A Bit Eccentric:

this name might appeal to those who actually like not following the crowd and who prefer to plough their own furrow.

A Bit Of A Raver:

a "raver" is someone whose likes to enjoy himself in wild, unconventional ways. This expression, while often pejorative, can have some positive undertones.

A Bit Of A Rebel:

someone who is a non-conformist without being a revolutionary (cf the James Dean film, "Rebel without a Cause".

A Bit Of A Stirrer:

someone who like to stir up trouble, a troublemaker. The word has negative connotations but may appeal to some breeders in search of something different.

A Bit Squeamish:

"squeamish" describes a person that is easily disgusted, shocked or nauseated. You might be described as squeamish if you did not like the sight of blood, or refused to see film because it was a bit violent or gory. I have included the word here because I like the look and sound of it.

A Bone To Pick:

a difficult problem that needs to be sorted out between two people. "Excuse me, Paul. I've got a bone to pick with you. I saw you dancing with my fiancée Emma at the students' ball last night. What's your explanation? Ideal name for a dog because of their traditional love of bones.

A Book By Its Cover:

the full English proverb is "Don't judge a book by its cover"; in other words, don't judge someone by their appearance. I have had to pare down the proverb of course.

A Bowl Of Cherries:

from the expression:"Life is just a bowl of cherries". This must be an American expression: who else would be so puzzlingly positive?

A Breed Apart:

often used to describe a family or a people that are different from most others. It is obviously applicable to animals and therefore to dogs. It is neutral to positive in its connotation. Do not forget that "breed" is used with reference to domestic animals only, "race" to human beings only and "species" to wild animals and plants that are genetically different and cannot interbreed.

A Cappella:

an Italian expression which describes a style of polyphonic singing unaccompanied by musical instruments. It means literally "in the chapel style". A name perhaps for a dog belonging to classical music lovers, though there are examples in pop music of a cappella singing.

A Card Up My Sleeve:

"to keep/have a card up your sleeve" is to possess a secret advantage which you can have recourse to if need be.

A Case In Point:

a relevant example of something that is being discussed; an illustrative or relevant case

A Charmed Life:

If you lead a charmed life then you are extremely lucky: nothing unfortunate or bad ever happens to you: good luck, as if by magic, follows you wherever you go throughout your life. Perhaps you don't even exist!

A Christmas Carol:

Carols are hymns that are sung at Christmas and deal with the birth of Christ. They are very popular in all English-speaking countries. "A Christmas Carol" is probably the best and certainly the best known of Charles Dickens's short stories for the Christmas season "The Christmas Books". An unremittingly grim miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, gets his come-uppance and undergoes a life-changing experience at the hands of some supernatural visitors. A literary classic that everyone should read. You would never regret it.......

A Class Apart:

a group or category of things which are separate from the rest. It implies that the category is different and possibly better than the rest. "Public school educated people think they are a class apart from the rest of us". For better or worse, British and particularly English society is still riven with class differences which, while they are less obvious now than perhaps fifty years ago, still persist in many areas and are even betrayed by the way people talk.

A Couple Of Shakes:

if something is done in a couple of shakes it is done quickly and easily. Especially apt for dogs who often shake themselves, especially when they have just been swimming. Watch out for breeds that drool!

A Cut Above:

meaning superior to the rest: "The Rolls Royce is a cut above other cars" for example. Do they still make Rolls Royce cars?

A Date To Remember:

could refer to a specific date in the calendar or to a person you met on a date. A name for those of a sentimental or romantic nature.

A Day Off:

a day's holiday, either of personal leave or as a result of a bank or national holiday. Leisure-time and relaxation come to mind with this expression.

A Day Out:

this expression involves not just a day off (see previous entry) but a day out of the house, going shopping, to the cinema or theatre, going for a meal, even a day's excursion to the seaside or to visit friends. The important thing is to get out of the house.

A Definite Maybe:

a paradox, often used humorously to give the impression that a solution to a problem has been found, whereas of course it has not. "Did he say he would give you a pay rise?" "Well, he did not actually commit himself but he gave me a definite maybe"

A Definite Perhaps:

the same as "a definite maybe".

A Drop In The Ocean:

a very small quantity; woefully inadequate to solve a major problem

A Drop Too Much:

the implication here is a drop too much to drink, that is, of an alcoholic nature."He's had a drop too much" means "He's rather drunk, inebriated, tipsy".

A Duck To Water:

from the expression: "Like a duck to water". "I took to her like a duck to water." or "When I was at school, I took to Latin like a duck to water". To find yourself naturally attracted to someone or something. This would be best suited to a hunting dog, specifically to a water dog labrador, curly-coated retriever, Irish water spaniel, lagotto romagnolo, Spanish water dog, etc.

A Face In The Crowd:

an expression with a negative connotation: it means to be indistinguishable from anybody else, one face that looks like everyone else. Perhaps not an ideal name for a dog but at least, as names go, it would be different in an undistinguished way!

A Far Cry:

very different from: "His flirtation with fascist ideas in later life were a far cry from the Marxism of his youth".

A Favour In Return:

when you ask someone else for help and they agree, they may ask you for a favour in return, that is, to give them help if or when they need it.

A Fighting Chance:

a chance to succeed but only after a struggle or effort, e.g. "At least they have a fighting chance to win the race even though the odds are against them."

A Fine Vintage:

used of wine, of great worth and often associated with an old wine; used generally by extension, it means of great quality

A Foot In The Door:

if you get your foot in the door, you succeed in the early or initial phase of doing something, though it is just a beginning and a lot still remains to be done.

A Fresh Look:

apart from the meaning of something looking fresh, it can mean to take another look at something, to reconsider an issue: "She had only just left school and had a fresh look about her"; "In view of the current economic situation, I think we should take a fresh look at investment in eco-friendly technology".

A Friend Forever;

that most precious of things. You may have few lifelong human friends, but your dog will always be your friend forever, long after he has become only a memory.....

A Friend In Need:

part of the proverb "A friend in need is a friend indeed", meaning that someone who helps you when you are really in need is a true friend.

A Friend Indeed:

the second half of the proverb described in the foregoing entry.

A Full Day's Work:

implying that someone has worked very hard and consistently throughout the day. Most useful in working or hunting breeds.

A Glass Of Bubbly:

"bubbly" is champagne and a glass of it is synonymous with a hedonistic life style and someone who enjoys himself.

A Glorious Thing:

self-evident - a name of high praise for a dog

A Good Innings:

an expression from cricket. Cricket is in my opinion one of the dullest sports around and heaven knows there are enough of those! I have no intention of explaining the arcane and labyrinthine rules of cricket. Suffice it to say however that an innings is the score a player makes before being forced to leave the field. If he has had a good innings, his score has been high (the opposite being a low or poor innings). More generally, if you say someone has had a good innings, it means that the person has had a relatively successful anbd especially a long life. "He was very frail in recent years but he died at the age of one hundred and three, so he had a good innings."

A Good Judge:

the literal meaning is clear (everyone likes to be thought of as being a good judge of others)but it is also a reference to what any dog enthusiast requires when showing their dog, namely a good dog judge and they are not as numerous as they should be.

A Good Lie-In:

the luxury of being able to remain in bed after you have woken up and before starting the daily routine and chores; perhaps listening to the radio or reading a book before you actually get up. This is something that a dog-owner seldom has time to do: the more dogs you have, the less likely it is that they will allow you to remain in bed after they hear your initial matutinal stirrings.

A Good Read:

a very enjoyable book: "'The Lord of the Rings' may be over a thousand pages in length, but it is a very good read."

A Good Talking-To:

If you give someone a good talking-to, you reprimand them severely.

A Good Vintage:

the same meaning as "A Fine Vintage" - see above.

A Handful Of Dust:

the name of a novel by the crusty old Evelyn Waugh, who amuses me despite being a hopeless old reactionary. Published in 1934, the novel's title is taken from a line in T.S. Elliot's "The Wasteland": "I will show you fear in a handful of dust". We all come from it and we all go to it, whether we are dogs or human.....

A Hard Day's Night:

a song by the Beatles which reached Number One in the British charts in 1965 and also the name of their second feature-length film. The words do not actually mean a great deal but if you an unconditional fan of the Fab Four, who cares?

A Head For Heights:

a common expression used often in the negative: "I don't have a head for heights". In other words, the expression describes someone who is afraid of being in high places, especially if their is a vertiginous drop and the parapet is flimsy, like the battlements of a castle or a balcony in a tall skyscraper. A name not best suited to mountain dogs perhaps!

A Head For Heights:

if you have a had for heights it means you don't get dizzy or feel sick or frightened when you are high up and look down. Essential for steeplejacks of builders of sky scrapers.

A Heartbeat Away:

what religious people claim is the distance between the living and the dead. All predicated of course on whether there is a state of existence after death. I mean I am prepared to be optimistic in life (dum spiro spero) but it's the "spiroing" that deters me......

A Hedge Backwards:

if you look as though you have been pulled through a hedge backwards, you are in a very dishevelled, unkempt state: "When Paul McCartney was mobbed by fans outside the venue where he was to perform, he emerged looking as though he had been pulled through a hedge backwards". In view of the arguably rural connotations of the expression, it might best suit hunting dogs.

A House Divided:

from a speech by Abraham Lincoln concerning slavery and its divisive effects on the unity of the USA . It is used mostly these days to describe a situation where agreement or unanimity no longer applies and where dissent reigns.

A Jolly Good Job:

this expression denotes great satisfaction and/or relief on the part of the utterer at a particular situation or event and often followed by "too": e.g. "I hear that Peter has finally found a permanent job." "A jolly good job too!" A similar but somewhat stronger expression might be "About time (too)!".

A Jolly Good Read:

a book that is even more enjoyable than one that is a good read. The intensive "jolly" meaning very, is a typically British usage and it seems to be less used now than formerly. Most often found in front of the word "good".

A Jolly Good Show:

old-fashioned British expression implying satisfaction at the way a process has gone. Also often used without the definite article at the beginning. A:I managed to score a century at the village cricket match." B: Well done! Jolly good show, old boy!

A Jolly Good Time:

a really enjoyable time, expressing satisfaction at a particular event. "We went to the West End to see a film and then we had a delicious meal at a five-star restaurant. We had a jolly good time." Perhaps a little dated nowadays...........

A Just Iniquity:

a pleasing paradox - irresistible!

A Kind Of Hush:

a hit by the pop group Herman's Hermits in 1967 (the exact title being "There's A Kind Of Hush"). Their biggest hit in the UK was their first hit single in 1964, "I'm Into Something Good" which reached Number One. My personal favourite of theirs was a 1965 remake of the Rays' 1957 American hit, "Silhouettes". Herman's Hermits were even more popular in the USA than in their home country. The name would perhaps be best used for a very quiet or discreet dog.

A Kind Of Magic;

a huge hit in 1986 by that iconic group, Queen, second only to the Beatles as my favourite rock band of all time.

A La Carte:

a menu where each option is separately priced and prepared to order. Literally "on the menu"

A La Mode:

a French expression meaning fashionable or trendy.

A Labour Of Love:

doing something difficult or which requires skill yet out of love for doing so rather than for material gain.

A Laugh A Minute:

if someone is a laugh a minute, they constantly make people laugh and so are great fun to be with.

A Law For The Rich:

from a proverb:"there's a law for the rich and a law for the poor" implying that the rich are more leniently treated when it comes to the punishing of crime than poor people are: they can afford better lawyers for a start. It refers to social inequality in society.

A League Of My Own:

to be "in a league of one's own" means to be unique, completely different from or better than anyone else. Einstein was such a genius he really was in a league of his own. In football for example each league division consists of several teams. The word league implies the involvement of two or more people or things. The Dreikaiserbund bringing together in the nineteenth century the emperors of Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary is called in English the "League of the Three Emperors".

A Leap In The Dark:

an action taken without thought for its consequences; a precipitate or rash act whose effects are impossible to predict.

A Lesson For Us All:

in other words, everybody can learn useful lessons from a difficult or unpleasant situation (and how it was solved). "In Hitler's almost effortless rise to power, there is a lesson for us all to mistrust demagogues and to protect freedom."

A Lesson Learned:

that is, someone has learned a lesson from a particular experience. "If the USA avoids involvement in military intervention in the third world, then the experience of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan are lessons well learned." The word "learned" can also be "learnt": the verb "to learn" can be either regular in its principle forms "to learn/learned/learned" or slightly irregular "to learn/ learnt/learnt". Both forms are correct and commonly used.

A Life Of Crime:

A life-long thief leads a life of crime, cradle to grave delinquency. Best suited to a mishievous dog.

A Life Of Ease:

an easy life,a life free from want and worries.

A Likely Story:

an expression usually said with strong irony, implying that the speaker does not believe the stroy he has just heard. "I don't know much about history but I don't believe that Queen Vistoria was the daughter of a humble crofter and worked her way up to become ruler of the British Empire. A likely story!"

A Little Bit Extra:

a tiny bit more. Surely the meaning is clear?

A Little Irony:

irony was invented by the Ancient Greeks but it is amazing how few people understand gentle irony. When I lived in Luxembourg, I was ironical with the inhabitants of that country most of the time but the irony went way over their heads. It made me feel good however!

A Little Learning:

The dictum is: " A little learning is a dangerous thing" and means that those people with a limited education are more dangerous because of half-assimilated, semi-absorbed facts than the entirely ignorant. A good reason for going as far in education as possible. This also applies to dog-training - why not make your pooch a canine intellectual by training him properly?

A Little Respect:

a reference to Aretha Franklin's 1960s classic "Respect", one of the best singles ever to grace the British charts. Should be given to a dog worthy of respect, which is 99.99% of them.

A Little Tipple:

a small amount of alcohol consumed at one time. Maybe a swig of liquor from a hip flask or alcohol drunk from a small glass. The expression "my favourite tipple" also exists.

A Long Way Off:

far away in the distance: perhaps best used with a dog who is inclined not to come back when called. On the other hand, you may think that calling a dog by this name would be temptinig fate - and your misgivings might be well-founded.

A Long Way To Go:

perhaps for a dog that starts off unprepossessing but who later becomes beautiful.It does happen. Think of the ugly duckling changing into the beautiful swan.

A Look Askance:

a look where the eyes are to the side, the gaze is averted: a sideways look denoting scepticism, anxiety, fear, mistrust, aversion, disapproval or suspicion.

A Lot At Stake:

a situation where a much depends on a successful outcome.

A Lot In Common:

when you share many interests with someone:"They were born on the same day in the same town, went to the same school, are both accomplished pianists and are both married to Frenchwomen. They have a lot in common."

A Lot To Answer For:

if someone has a lot to answer for, he has made many mistakes and has to account for and even make up for them. "Andrew should have tried harder to clinch the deal with that German company. Because of him, the contract will not be signed and the deal will not go through. His attitude and apparent lack of commitment were mostly responsible for this situation. He has a lot to answer for." Get the idea?

A Lot To Be Desired:

apart from the literal meaning which is positive of course, this is part of a negative expression: "He leaves a lot to be desired" which means he does not fulfil expectations, there is much about him to criticise.

A Lot To Like:

e.g. "this dog is not the best example of his breed I have ever seen, but nonetheless, there is a lot to like."

A Man Of Few Words:

someone who is taciturn and rarely offers his opinion. Quite a rare quality in this day and age! Of course, you may decide against this name on the ground that the expression refers to a man and not an animal. I think that comparing a man to a dog is quite insulting but I shan't say for whom!

A Matter Of Honour:

describes a situation where somebody's honour is at stake.

A Matter Of Time:

otern used in the expression "It's only a matter of time", meaning that a situation will resolve itself in due time: we only have to wait. Time travel has always fascinated mankind: the ability not only to move through the infinity of space but also through time. On reflection, time travel involves some of my favourite films/ tv and radio programmes: "Dr Who", "Donnie Darko", "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy", the panoramic sweep of "2001 a Space Odyssey" and others. So it would be a great name for a dog..

A Mere Trifle:

something of little or no importance.

A Merry Dance:

if you lead someone a merry dance, you confuse them or cause them problems by deceiving them or behaving in an incomprehensible way: "He led us a merry dance when he organised the company outing to Bournemouth last year. Talk about hitches and poor planning. The whole episode was a mistake from start to finish." Perhaps slightly old-fashioned but might still be used for a lively dog full of life or by someone who simply loves dancing.

A Mind Of My Own:

ideal for the dog who thinks he knows best!

A Mirror To Nature:

art can hold a mirror (up) to nature by reflecting reality in an art form.

A Moment's Notice:

with very little prior warning (usually used in the expression "at a moment's notice".

A Month Of Sundays:

a very long time, far longer than expected. "I know I was slightly late for the appointment but he got his own back by keeping me waiting for a month of Sundays."

A Moth To A Flame:

it is well known that moths are attracted to flames and lights, even to their own detriment: they can be harmed if they venture too close to a naked flame. Figuratively it refers to someone who is attracted by something that is potentially dangerous, even despite himself.

A Nation Divided:

like the UK over the EU or France over gay marriage.

A Necessary Evil:

this refers to something which is basically bad but which is nonetheless unavoidable. "I admit the police are a necesssary evil but don't expect me to love them!"

A New Broom:

the full expression is "A new broom wseeps cleean": someone who is new in a job and who wants to make all sorts of changes or reforms, either to assert his own authority or to show to his superiors that he is making his mark and saving money, time etc., getting the maximum out of the people he works with.

A New Day Dawns:

indicates a positive attitude to new or fresh circumstances.

A Nice Cup Of Tea:

an Englishman's favourite beverage (ho-ho). In any case a very common expression in the UK and would suit a dog whose coat was the colour of tea. Often shortened to "a nice cuppa", which would be a nice alternative as a dog's name.

A Nip In The Air:

especially in early autumn as the days are getting shorter and temperatures are falling after summer, you may go out in the evening and notice that even after a warm day, the air is cool or even a little cold. The you could say "There's a nip in the air this evening".

A Nod And A Wink:

from the expression "A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse".

A Nose Ahead:

a term in horse-racing. When two horses arrive at the finishing post together, it is often what is called a "photo finish" (q.v.) and then whichever horse is slightly ahead at the post is the winner even if he is only a nose ahead of the other horse. In a more figurative sense, it denotes a very narrow victory in any context.

A Novel A Month:

in my younger days, when I had more time for reading, this was my average monthly consumption of literature. Unfortunately I am lucky nowadays if I get through a couple a year. With age come responsibilities which in turn bring their own satisfactions as well as any consequent cultural dearth.

A One-Off:

someone who is unique. A one-off payment is one in which the money is paid in a lump some, all together.

A Pat On The Back:

when someone pats you on the back, they are praising or congratulating you. It is a more distant form of hug. In a less literal sense it means praise, congratulations or encouragement: "When the boss named Victoria as the "staff member of the month", it was a real pat on the back for her." A fillip, a boost or a stimulus, especially to the morale.

A Penny Well Spent:

something has been done which was worthwhile. "I cost me a lot to have the car repaired but it was a penny well spent since it would have cost me a lot more to buy a new one".

A Perfect Right:

an absolute, cast-iron and inalienable right to something. "I have a perfect right to express my beliefs publicly. It is my right as the citizen of a democratic country."

A Place In The Sun:

what most Englishmen crave - year-round sunshine. Normally refers to a place on or near the Mediterranean but might be the Caribbean or California these days.

A Posteriori:

using empirical and inductive reasoning to trace the effects of an event to their cause and as such is the opposite of "a priori". Because the word "posterior", a euphemism for buttocks, can be heard in the expression, this useful Latin phrase makes Englishmen with a schoolboy sense of humour go into paroxysms of smutty laughter.

A Priori:

the antonym of the foregoing entry: a priori knowledge is independent of actual empirical experience and can be purely theoretical. You get my drift? Ideal for dogs that are interested in philosophy or classical studies...

A Promise Kept:

fairly obvious what this expression means. You might care to give it to a dog that was conceived as a result of a promise made years before. I made a promise to use a male Sussex spaniel when he was only a year old but in fact I did not do so until he was nine years old. But I did kep my promise eventually.

A Pun A Minute:

the sort of thing I like.

A Punt On The Isis:

when the Thames passes through the timeless city of Oxford, it is called the Isis. One of the great pastimes of students, particularly at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, when they wish to take gentle and enjoyable exercise, is to go punting. A punt is a flat-bottomed vessel steered by a pole: it is the English equivalent of the Venetian gondola (though there the steering is by means of an oar). It is an activity looked back on with much nostalgia by many an Oxbridge graduate in later life, myself included.

A Quick Butcher's:

cockney rhyming slang: "a butcher's hook" means a "look". So: "Give us a butcher's" - "Let us (me) have a look."

A Quick Flutter:

placing a hurried bet on a horse at a bookmakers, which oddly is a betting establishment and nothing to do with printing or binding. Colloquial... Literally, to flutter is what birds, particularly young birds, do - ungainly and often noisy attempts at flying.By the way, butterflies flutter too (butterfly, flutter by).

A Real Difference:

an expression over-used by people seeking to assure you that your life will be revolutionised by your adoption of something new: "Computers will make a real difference to your life" - true but not necessarily positive.

A Real Privilege:

a cliché: "It's a real privilege to work with you, Mr Prime Minister" said the sycophantic under-secretary.

A Real Smasher:

a slightly old-fashioned English slang expression, referring especially to a woman as a mark of appreciation. Can also be used to describe a thing in a complimentary or admiring fashion. "That Janet is a real smasher - so pretty and always well-dressed." or "The 1930s Rolls Royce that Patrick has just acquired is a real smasher."

A Resounding Yes:

so positive, though a "yes" to what is up to you..

A Rhyme For Orange:

apparently, there are very few words in nglish that rhyme with "orange", so this implies a rare thing and thus something that stands out from the rest. See also "A Rhyme For Purple".

A Rhyme For Purple:

A Right To-Do:

a "to-do" is colloquial British English for "commotion, stir" and "right" in this context means "real" or "proper".

A Riot Of Blue/Red:

often used to describe flower beds of bright colours. You would not use it for dull colours; you would never say "a riot of brown". The expressions "a riot of colour(s)" or "a profusion of colour(s)" also exist.

A Riot Of Colour:

referring to something that contains many colours, polychromatic. Could also indicate a tasteless, garish mishmash of ill-matched colours. Usually positive, occasionally not.

A Ripe Old Age:

someone who lives to a ripe old age lives to be very old. Always used in a positive context.

A Sandwich Short:

if someone is "a sandwich short of a picnic", he has not got "all his marbles", he may be a little slow in learning. Not exactly a compliment but does have a slight comic effect.

A Sea Of Troubles:

a quote from Hamlet's soliloquy which begins "To be or not to be". I am not going to quote the rest, you should go back and re-read the whole soliloquy. Nothing more sublime, profound or thought-provoking has been written in the English language. How celebrities can appear in public and say Shakespeare is overrated or no good is more a reflection on them than on the Bard himself.

A Secret Divulged:

a secret revealed, which might also be a good name for a dog.

A Sense Of Duty:

if you have a sense of duty you feel morally bound to do your duty towards something or someone, to act dutifully towards somebody.

A Sense Of Order:

if you have a sense of order, it means you cannot bear disorder or untidiness.

A Sense Of Place:

conveying usually in words, the atmosphere of a town, city, region or country. E.g. "This author's writings on Venice are so accurate and penetrating that you feel you are actually in 'La Serenissima'. He really communicates a sense of place."

A Shot In The Arm:

a booster, something that gives you extra energy. The idea is basically the idea of a hypodermic injecting some performance-enhancing substance.

A Shot In The Dark:

A hopeful, random attempt to do something. Originally from a military context (First World War?) where at night a soldier would fire his gun out into the dark in the hope that it might kill an enemy soldier. The modern context does not have such a negative connotation.

A Sight To Behold:

something that is really worth seeing. "To behold" is very much a literary word these days.

A Sign Of The Times:

describing changes in behaviour in contemporary society in comparison with the past. Often used in a negative context implying a worsening of behaviour. "Men no longer hold the door open to let a lady pass: it's a sign of the times, I suppose". Not always negative however.

A Signal Lesson:

a very important lesson, often imparted by life through bitter experience. "His first taste of love ended in deceipt and disillusionment. It was a signal lesson that other people cannot always be trusted in matters of the heart." Note also the expression "a signal achievement", an important, noteworthy achievement.

A Slap On The Wrist:

a mild rebuke, a light punishment, a gentle or weak admonishment, more often verbal or metaphorical than physical or literal.

A Smile A Minute:

the meaning is obvious but this name should perhaps be given to a dog of a breed which smiles, such as the Sussex spaniel or the pharaoh hound. I understand that Weimaraners and Dalmatians also exhibit this tendency to show their teeth when they are happy or being forced to do something they are reluctant to do. I heard of a family who took their dog to the vet to be put to sleep because they had misinterpreted the smile for a snarl! People that ignorant of dogs should not be allowed to own one.

A Song At Twilight:

a very old song entitled "Love's Own Sweet Song" had a refrain that contained the words "Just a song at twilight". The song itself must be well over a century old and deals with an old couple finding solace in the profound love they had had for each other since their youth. Sentimental such things may be in this day and age but I remember my father playing the tune many times on his piano in the 1960s. An age removed from the Beatles and Stones!

A Song For Europe:

the name usually given to the BBC programme in which the decisions about who and which song represents the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest are taken. I think people in Britain take the song contest either far to seriously or else view it with total contempt. This is largely as a result of sour grapes since Britain has not won it for decades. It was much better when a specially constituted jury in each country judged the songs. Phone-ins encourage people to vote for more political reasons. Why does it ususally happen that Germany gives top scoring to the Turkish entry? Because the overwhelming majority of people who bother to vote in Germany are Turkish immigrants. It does not really reflect anything about German taste. Anyway, I think the best Eurovision winner by a long chalk was Abba with of course, "Waterloo", the song that launched their career and was their first number one (of many)in the UK.

A Song Of Sixpence:

from the nursey rhyme "Sing a song of sixpence, A pocket full of rye, Four-and twenty blackbirds, Baked in a pie". If you want to know the rest of the rhyme, going into your favourite search engine and research it!

A Space Odyssey:

the subtitle of one of the greatest films ever made, Stanley Kubrick's "2001-A Space Odyssey". This was the first film I went to see in a large cinema in central London, the first time I had ever heard stereo sound or seen a cinerama screen. It was in 1968 before the film became really popular: I had gone to see it on my own on the recommendation of a schoolfriend of mine. The scene at the end when the astronaut goes beyond infinity and comes back as the star child still defy any attempt at logical explanation but I left the cinema thinking I had had the greatest artistic and aesthetic experience I had ever known. Kubrick was and remains the greatest film director in the history of the seventh art.

A Splash Of Colour:

a bright patch of colour in comparatively dull surroundings

A Sporting Chance:

a fair chance to succeed

A Spy Ring:

pathetic pun - but irresistible!

A Step At A Time:

in other words, don't rush, take your time. See also "One Step At A Time".

A Step Too Far:

going too far, exaggerating and causing unpleasant consequences, overstetching yourself on limited resources.

A Sting In The Tail:

an unexpected and unpleasant ending to something which seemed to be concluding well.

A Stitch In Time:

part of hte proverb "A stitch in time saves nine". If you tackle a problem when it is just beginning, you save yourself a lot of trouble later. It refers to a hole in a garment: if you mend it when the hole is small, you only need to sew one stitch whereas many more stitches will be necessary if you let the hole get bigger.

A Straight Face:

"to keep a straight face" is to prevent yourself from smiling or laughing in a situation where it would be better not to, to force yourself not to betray any sign of amusement.

A Stranger Danger:

no special meaning other than the literal but it sounds pleasant, euphonic.

A Strong Cup Of Tea:

something all Brits need to revive and fortify them. Often colloquially refrerred to as "a nice strong cuppa" (cuppa= cup of {tea understood}).

A Suitable Career:

what so many people are looking for, especially in these straitened times.

A Swift Half:

a rapidly consumed half-pint of beer.

A Tad Facetious:

intended to be amusing but actually mildly annoying. "A tad" is more often used in the USA than in the UK, where we more often say " a little" or "a bit". Perhaps not an obvious name for a dog but at least it could spark a conversation...

A Talent To Amuse:

a quotation from "Blithe Spirit" by Noel Coward, meaning the ability to entertain. Also the title of a famous biography of Coward. If you have a talent to amuse, then develop your gift...

A Taste For Luxury:

someone with luxurious taste obviously has a taste for luxury

A Taste Of Heaven:

a wonderful experience. There is another similar expression in English which people use to describe a fantastic experience: "I thought I'd died and gone to heaven."

A Taste Of Honey:

a pleasant but fleeting experience. Famous as the title of a ground-breaking play of the same name, written in the 1950s by British playwright Shelagh Delaney and gave rise to the pejorative expression "kitchen sink drama". Still a powerful play today... Also a song of which the most famous version is sung by the Beatles, though they did not compose it.

A Thing Of Beauty:

from Endymion by the poet, John Keats: "a thing of beauty is a joy forever" See also the entry "A Joy Forever".

A Thing Possessed:

possibly a reference to demonic possession. "She started to howl like a wolf and display aggression to those around her. She acted like a thing possessed." By extension therefore, it is used to describe people behaving in an abnormal or crazy way. Again not the best name for a dog but again, there is a comic element in the expression, particularly if used for a dog which is well-behaved.

A Thousand Eyes:

the title of a poem by an obscure poet named Francis William Bourdillon, which is actually worth reading and very short (two verses). Why the title is so well known I cannot say, but it is also true that it is the title of a very famous song by Bobby Vee which got to Number 3 in the British hit parade in 1963. Again it was the title of a 1948 film. And finally is the title of a jazz standard.

A Thousand Ships:

in Greek mythology, Helen's was the face that launched a thousand ships. So this would be a name best applied to a ravishingly beatiful bitch puppy.

A Thousand Words:

from the proverb "A picture is worth a thousand words". A slight exaggeration no doubt. The implication in this name is that the dog concerned is as pretty as a picture.

A Thrill A Minute:

a film or a book where thrilling moments come thick and fast could be described as having a thrill a minute.

A To Z:

the whole of the alphabet and by extension, a book which provides a full picture of its subject ("The Rolling Stones from A to Z"). It is particularly used for travel books or even the comprehensive street map of a city("London A to Z"). Another possibility would be "From A to Z"

A Ton Of Bricks:

"to come down on someone like a ton of bricks" is to deal very harshly with someone, especially in the context of a hierarchical superior vis-à-vis his/her underlings.

A Tooth For A Tooth:

from the Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon, which was the first example of written law governing a human collectivity. It is also quoted in the Bible. The full version is "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" and basically means that if you do something to another man, he has the right to do the same thing to you. If you knock his tooth out, he has the right to knock one of your teeth out. A way of settling disputes which is too unsubtle for all but the most vindictive of societies these days especially as it does not take motive into account.

A Touch Of Class:

implying that something is sophisticated, tasteful or simply "classy". Again class rears its head in an English expression but the context is basically positive though with a hint of class snobbery.

A Touch Of Frost:

when you wake up on an autumnn morning and see that as far as the eye can see everything is covered by a thin layer of frost which usually melts quickly as the sun grows hotter, that is a touch of frost. Not hard, Siberian frost but a touch of frost. Often used during weather forecasts on radio and television. Also a brilliant tv detective series starring the multi-talented David Jason.

A Touch Of Irony:

similar in meaning to the expression entered above "A Little Irony": a mildly ironical tone in a text or conversation.

A Touch Of Luxury:

a small amount of luxury but not very much.

A Touch Of Magic:

a small amount of magic: a brief magical moment.

A Touch Of Whimsy:

"whimsy" is the quality or state of being fanciful; the adjective is "whimsical". If there is a touch of whimsy in a text, it means that the author is being slightly self-indulgent by dealing with some of his pet interests or themes, which might be indiosyncratic or eccentric. The expression is quite an endearing one.

A Tranquil Life:

a peaceful, possibly uneventful but calm life.

A Tranquil Storm:

obviously an oxymoron, to which I am occasionally partial. It's up to you if you like this one enough to use it as a dog's name. Perhaps suitanle for a dog whose character is full of contrasts.

A Treat In Store:

means that someone, especially a child, is going to have an exciting experience: "When dad told us we would be going out the next day, knew there as a treat in store" i.e. I knew he was planning to give us a treat (taking us to the zoo, cinema, theme park etc.) This expression is always positive.

A Trouble Halved:

from the proverb "A trouble shares is a trouble halved", that is,if you share your problems with another person, the burden of the trouble is considerably diminished. You confidant may even give you some good advice to enable you to solve the problem you have, even if not, it is a relief to unburden youself to a trusted friend.

A Trouble Shared:

see the foregoing entry for an explanation.

A Twinkle In My Eye:

a cheeky look that is full of life and hope.

A Twist In The Tale:

meaning that a story ("tale") has a surprise ending, it does not finish as the reader was perhaps expecting.

A Universe Within

no other meaning than the literal one. How often have you looked into a dog's eyes and seen such a profound understanding and unquestioning love? Don't tell me you haven't found a universe in your dogs eyes....

A Waiting Game:

"to play a waiting game" is to wait deliberately to see how things develop naturally before you take specific action; taking time before you act.

A Walk In The Rain:

not exactly my favourite way to spend my time but if the rain isn't too heavy, it can be rather invigorating. In any case, it evokes a rural scene and the name is perhaps best suited to a sporting dog.

A Walk In The Snow:

now you're talking. This is one of my favourite ways of spending time, especially when accompanied by my trusty canine chums. Suits any dog but especially a white one perhaps...

A Walk In The Woods:

the meaning is clear: one of my favourite pastimes.

A Walk On The Beach:

what you see is what is meant. if you are partial to exercising your dog on the beach (or aspire to do so), then this suggestion would be right up you street.....

A Watched Pot:

the full proverb is "A watched pot never boils", meaning that if you hang around waiting for something to happen, time passes very slowly. If you don't believe the truth of the proverb, put some water in a kettle and do nothing until the kettle starts to whistle. The closest I hever get to an idea of eternity...

A Way With Words:

if you have a way with words, you use them well and properly, you have some sort of literary, rhetorical or linguistic talent.

A Wee Dram:

a dram is a small quantity of alcohol; "wee" is a Scots dialect word for "small".This could be used as a name by whisky enthusiasts or for a Scottish breed.

A Week In Politics

the full quotation, attributed to British prime minister in the 1960s and 1970s, Harold Wilson, is: " A week is a long time in politics."

A Whale Of A Time:

is to have a wonderful time, to enjoy onself thoroughly, immensely.

A While Ago:

quite a long time ago.

A Wide Berth:

if you give somone a wide berth, then you go out of your way to avoid them. "I can't afford to pay back the five pounds I owe Jane until next payday. Until then, I'd better give her a wide berth."

A Wing And A Prayer:

if you manage to do something on a wing and a prayer, you only just succeed in doing it, it is done but barely. Apparently from an American patriotic song composed in the Second World War.

A Winter's Tale:

the name of a play by William Shakespeare, not one of his finest, about a mad king of Sicily and the cruelty he inflicts on his family. Sometimes included among Shakespeare's "problem plays".

A Word In Edgeways:

if someone is very garrulous and speaks "nineteen to the dozen", there will be no convenient moment for you to enter the conversation. So you will not be able to get a word in edgeways. To be unable to but in because your interlocutor is speaking so loud and/or fast that interrupting him is impossible.

A Word In Your Ear:

a picturesque, and vaguely humourous, way of telling someone you wish to talk to them, usually alone. The full version would be "May I have a word in your ear?" but it is usually abbreviated to "a word in your ear".

A Word Of Advice:

the meaning is clear, I deem.

A Word Of Caution:

usually added as an after-thought to tell someone to be careful, that there are negative aspects that must be taken into consideration. "Yes, China is a wonderful country but a word of caution, don't talk about politics".

A Word Of Warning:

fairly obvious, but is usually used by someone in a negativce context and often unsolicited: imagine the scene, if your boss comes into your office one day and says:"Let me give you a word of warning", you know you are in for an unpleasant experience..... he then proceeds to tear you off a strip.

A Work Of Genius:

self-evident really, no hidden or abstruse meaning.

A World Apart:

something which is very different or in stark contrast. "Jane's life in the affluent West was a world apart from that of her new students in East Africa".

A/The Great Healer:

from the expression: "Time is a/the great healer". A commonplace trotted out by way of comfort usually to the bereaved. Almost as annoying and counterproductive in its intended effect as "Life goes on" or "It happens to all of us sooner or later." Having said that, I have found that life does indeed go on and in my experience the sharpness of grief does attenuate with time. "It´s only time that heals the pain and makes the sun come out again".

Ab Aeterno:

Latin for "since the dawn of time".


where can I start? I have been an Abba fan from the very moment I heard "Waterloo" and I make no bones about it. When it was unfashionable to be an Abba fan, I was unashamed in expressing my enthusiasm and now that it is respectable to be a fan, I am just as fervent. Very seldom has a pop group come along time after time with incredible tunes and harmonies. Who cares if they did not experiment musically? A melody is what is so lacking in most modern pop/rock songs - it's really depressing. Abba had nine Number One hits in the British charts and very few of their singles failed to chart. Giuseppe Cesare Abba was also the name of an Italian patriot and writer who fought in the campaigns for Italian unity in the 19th century and left some interesting memoirs about Garibaldi's conquest of Sicily entitled "The Thousand". I haven't actually read them but I have them somewhere among my books. I wonder if they have been translated into English...

Abbey Road:

the Beatles album of course and a road in London where the world-famous recording studios are located. I may be waxing controversial but the Beatles last album to be recorded, "Abbey Road", to my mind surpasses even "Sergeant Pepper".

Abbey Wood:

a place in south-east London which was home to me for most of my first 19 years and was noted mostly for the ruins if an abbey which was finally abandoned as a result of Henry VIII's dissolution of monasteries in the 16th century. Also where the beautiful Lesnes Woods are to be found which taught me a profound love of nature and especially of (most) trees.

Abhors A Vacuum:

"Nature abhors a vacuum" - a cliché from science lessons at school. I loathed science when I was a schoolboy and still give it a wide berth, with the slight exception of biology. This was one of the few things I recall from the physics or chemistry lessons I bore with such superhuman fortitude at secondary school.

Abide With Me:

if I had any religious beliefs, this would be the hymn I would like to be played at my funeral. It is inspiring whatever one's personal beliefs about religion, god or an afterlife. And the tune is quite catchy too. Often sung at imprtant football matches (so I believe).

Abiding Memories:

memories that stay, that do not fade. I hope this will be the case with all the dogs you own throughout your lifetime.

Abiding Memory:

a memory (of someone) that remains a long time after the person has died or drifted away. "He has been dead for a quarter of a century but he has left an abiding memory with all those who knew him."

Abject Objection:

more for its euphony than its meaning.........

Able And Stable:

fairly obvious but it trips off the tongue because it rhymes. To qualities that dogs should have.

Able And Willing:

a synonym for "willing and able", in other words, the speaker is capable of doing a particular task and wants to do it.

Aboriginal Art:

the abstract but beautiful art produced by the original inhabitants of Australia, the Aborigines.

About Time Too:

a cry of relief and suppressed anger uttered by someone who has been waiting for a long time when at last the object of his waiting finally arrives.

About To Strike:

poised to bite, for example a snake, a spider, a vampire, etc. Don't forget the line in Michael Jackson's "Thriller" - "No-one's gonna save you from the beast about to strike". Terrifying! That prompts the question whether it is a suitable name for a dog - I'll leave that one up to you.


an often sudden 180° reversal of direction. Also used figuratively for the abandonment of a policy by a government.

Above And Beyond:

often used in the expression "above and beyond the call of duty", when a soldier or policeman shows heroism beyond what his job would call for.

Above Board:

correct, proper and legal: "This company seems reputable so I am sure its business practices are all above board."

Above Criticism:

excelling to the extent that one is never criticised or judged adversely.

Above Par:

better than average. The opposite also exists "below par" but that can also mean "unwell" or "lacking in energy"

Above Sea-Level:

all dry land is measured above sea-level, not from its undersea foundations. Of course, there are examples, such as the Dead Sea, whic are dry land but are actually below sea-level.

Above Stairs:

in those pre-First World War days, when the class system was very rigid in Britain and if you were of the lower orders, you knew and accepted your place in the social hierarchy. If you were in servce, that is, if you were a servant, you lived "below stairs" and only went "above stairs" in pursuit of your duties. You did not linger above stairs unless there was a reason. Only the master and his family dwelt above stairs. His family would probably have included his dog(s). Even in England, the class system has moved somewhat in a hundred years.

Above Suspicion:

in many films, it is those characters that are above suspicion who committed the crime around which the film is centred. Ideal for a naughty dog who looks as though butter would not melt in his mouth.

Above The Clouds:

no meaning other than the obvious but I like the expression as it appeals to my imagination.

Above The Fray:

if you keep above the fray, you remain unaffacted by and uninvolved in arguments, contoversies, the cut and thrust of party politics and so on.

Above The Tumult:

very similar in meaning to the previous entry - a zen detachment from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Above Us Only Sky:

from the song "Imagine", one of the finest songs ever penned by the genius that was John Lennon, and also one of the most uncompromisingly idealistic songs ever composed. This line questions whether there is an afterlife.


can also be written with a hyphen after "above", and means something which has previously been referred to in a text.


a word used by magicians to give the impression that magic is taking place; a magic spell.


one who suddenly or secretly runs away, especially in an attempt to escape arrest or to avoid capture.


one who thinks so much about something else that he fails to concentrate on what he is supposed to be doing here and now.

Absolute Maximum:

you can't go beyond this.....

Absolute Monarch:

historically most kings and queens have been absolute, constitutional monarchy being a relatively recent phenomenon. All emperors of China, pharaohs of Egypt, and European monarchs like Nicholas II of Russia or Louis XIV have enjoyed total power untrammelled by anything like a Parliament or a democratic system government. Sounds very regal though, whatever the pretty ghastly reality of autocracy is in fact.

Absolute Must:

something which is absolutely essential, which you cannot do without. "These days, a mobile phone is an absolute must."

Absolute Power:

the sort of power exercised by an abolute monarch, without curbs, like a constitution or democratic accountability. Mercifully there are very few absolute monarchies lefyt in the world: they are more a phenomenon attached to pre-Enlightenment days. However there are considerable numbers of absolute presidents throughout the world who wield power as they think fit, monarch is all but name. Perhaps this name would suit a dog with a very strong sense of his own importance who does his own thing. Obedience classes would be the most effective remedy for dogs falling into this category. Much more difficult to solve the problem of human tyrants...

Absolute Truth:

a philosophical concept that has exercised the minds of the greatest thinkers from time immemorial. Does absolute truth exist? Is it perceptible to human intellect? Is truth at best only relative? Who cares? Does it matter? Perhaps the ideal name for a dog who looks as though he has all the weight of the world's problems on his shoulders.

Absolute Zero:

the coldest possible temperature, that is (apparently), -273.15 Celsius. If you are more familiar with Fahrenheit, might I suggest you enter the modern world?

Absolute Zero:

a scientific term, involving such incomprehensible concepts as entropy, the laws of thermodynamics and quantum-mechanics zero-point energy, which far surpasses my intellect or interest. However, it is often used colloquially to decribe a really bitterly cold day: "Did you go outside last night? Temperatures must have been near absolute zero, once you take wind-chill into consideration."A word of warning however: if someone is unflatteringly described as a big, fat zero, it means he is a nothing, a nobody, more insignificant than a worm. So zero can have negative connotations. On the other hand, "absolute zero" cold be used imaginatively for a dog used to, or bred for, working and living in polar climes, a samoyed perhaps or a husky, even a malamute.

Absolutely No Way:

meaning "not on your life" ("jamais de la vie" or "neanche per idea" in French or Italian) and used more by younger people than older to indicate repulsion or aversion.


describes someone who abstains from something, mostly from drinking alcohol or eating meat. What is interesting about this adjective is that it contains all the vowels only once and in correct alphabetical order.


"abstinent" means not indulging in, abstaining from, refusing to partake of something and is most often associated with alcohol or sex though it can be used in relation to any hedonistic activity or indulgence which someone is refraining from. "Abstinence" is the noun: "Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder."

Abstract Art:

visual art which is not representational but consists in strange or distorted shapes, odd colours and squiggles. Not usually my cup of tea but an important form of artistic expression which characterised much of the 20th century's artistic output.

Abstract Concept:

not possible to show figuratively: courage, indebtedness, anger - all abstractions,indeed all absrtract nouns (See next entry).

Abstract Noun:

for some examples of Abstract Nouns, see see previous entry about abstact concepts.

Abstruse Saying:

a proverb that is difficult to understand and/or rarely used.


believe it or not, this is the Latin for "I'm out of here", a colloquial expression, originating in the USA, meaning simply "I'm getting out of here"/ "I'm not staying here". Just a fun notion that a contemporary slang expression can be successfully translated in such a a blissfully short and concise way into Latin, a dead language which nevertheless will not lie down and die. Hated it while I was doing it - so glad I did it!

Abundant Harvest:

the literal meaning recalls autumn days, cornfields orchards hanging with ripe, succulent fruit. The perfect dog's name for all townies who long to flee the urban nightmare for the rural idyll. And with an aptly named dog to complete the picture. Perhaps also the expression of a wish for large and numerous litters by breeders whose breeds are notoriously difficult to get in whelp and far from prolific - not wanting to be specific, you understand!

Academic Elite:

once in the UK, university education was open to a small minority of who, merely by hard work and ability were able to get a place at the small number of universities established in the country. Now mercifully, in these more enlightened days, the least able in the land can get a degree in basket-weaving before they join the dole queue. Cynical, moi?

Academic Rigour:

that which is necessary for success in the academic, university or intellectual world. Stripping away dross and following logical paths, especially in research.

Academic Success:

nowadays anyone who manages to obtain a university degree, which is about 90% of the population, achieves academic success. Cynical? Moi?

Accepted Norms:

the standards that most people would expect in specific circumstances: "Waiting until everyone has got off a vehicle before you start to get on is an accepted norm in a civilised society."

Access Denied:

in computers, when your computer does not permit you to open the files as requested. Whenever this happens, I could cheerfully throw the wretched machine out of the window. They do it deliberately of course, out of spite and malice.

Accidents Happen:

often used in sympathy with someone to whom an unfortunate event has just occurred. Also "accidents will happen". There is also a sort of proverb: "Accidents will happen when you least expect them".

Accipe Hoc:

another amusing Latin translation, this time for "Take that". From now on, I shall never see Robbie Williams in the same light. Please note that literally "hoc" is the neuter form of "this" (rather than "that") so purists may argue not only that it is not a literal translation of "Take that" (which I venture to suggest might be "Accipe illud") but also that neither form is acceptable since, at least at birth and presumably for some considerable time thereafter, a dog is either male or female, not neuter. Not bad for someone who scraped a "C" in "O"-Level Latin! Please note that I am quite prepared to be corrected by a gentleman (-woman) and a scholar should my Latin prove faulty.


something which complements or supplements something else; in a musical context, a part that partners or supports a singer or instrument.


a real achievement: something which, as a result of self-sacrifice and considerable preparation, has been achieved. Another more literary meaning: a talent.

According To Plan:

this means that things are working out as you had foreseen. It is most often heard in the expression: "Things are going according to plan."

Accurate Aim:

if you have an accurate aim, you are very likely to strike your target.

Accusations Fly:

when accusations fly, all sorts of allegations are made, not all of them based on fact or reality.

Ace Of Clubs:

the highest or lowest card in the suit called clubs. Perhaps for people who like a bit of a flutter, gambling on horses, cards or even the lottery.

Ace Of Diamonds:

see previous entry, except that the suit changes.

Ace Of Hearts

see previous two previous entries.

Ace Of Spades:

see previous three entries.

Ace Reporter

a journalist or news reporter who is at the apex of his profession and often famous. Used particularly of American newspaper journalists: Clark Kent and Lois Lane could perhaps be described as "ace reporters".

Acerbic Wit:

someone who has a very clever but rather unkind character. The word "wit" basically refers to natural intelligence rather than the intellectual sort. An illiterate can live by his wits, his native cunning.

Acid Drop

a boiled sweet common in Britain (at least when I was younger) with a tart, mouth-watering taste. Comparable to the American "sourball". Also used as the title of a book by the ever popular and much missed British comedian of camp, Kenneth Williams.


the response sent when a letter has been received by its addressee. "Dear Mr Smith, I acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 15th of January" for example. "Accusé de réception" in French. I love the look of the word and the consontantal clusters (one for the linguists among you).

Acme Of Happiness:

a stAte of unsurpassable happiness.

Acme Of Success:

the highest point of one's success.


the nut produced by an oak tree. A favourite of pigs, I gather.


acceptance or agreement without expressing objections; tacit consent


the adjective derived from "to aquiesce"

Acquired Taste

something which does not give pleasure initially but which, after a while does. E.g. "I never liked whisky when I was younger, but now I love one especially just before going to bed. It must be an acquired taste."

Acquired Wisdom

the wisdom gathered over a liftime's experience. Old people who have been schooled at the "university of life" usually have acquired wisdom. It is wisdom that takes many years to acquire.


an adjective used to describe someone who hoards things or who gives exaggerated importance to material possessions. Someone who is eager to amass wealth and possessions or obtain social status. Does not always convey a positive connotation but I love the spelling.

Across Frontiers:

a counterblast by those of us who find unhelpful and unhealthy the all-too-prevalent and apparently (at the moment) acceptable attitude of xenophobia and racism in certain countries. I say "Vive la différence" - don't disparage others for being of a different nationality or speaking a different language. Travel broadens the mind, so travel and loosen up!

Across The Board

meaning in all sectors, everywhere: the will be price rises across the board as a result of the government's austerity budget".

Across The Nation

Everywhere in the country: "There were protests across the nation as a result of the invasion of Iraq". Also a line from the immortal anthem of hippiedom in the 1960s and one of my favourite songs of all time, "San Francisco" by Scott Mackenzie: "Across the nation, there's a new generation, people in motion". Ah, those were the days (which is quite another song).

Across The Water:

abroad, overseas. if somebody comes from across the water, they were not norn in the UK. It applies even more obviously to Ireland or France.

Across The World:

the meaning is clear. It could perhaps be used by a breeder who exports a lot of dogs or for a dog that has been imported.

Act In Haste:

part of the dictum "Act in haste, repent at leisure", urging people to reflect before taking action.

Act Of Friendship

self-explanatory really. And dog is man's best friend.

Act Of Kindness:

self-explanatory and something which makes life worthwhile for the giver and for the receiver.

Act Of Parliament:

national laws in the United Kingdom have to be approved by the Houses of Parliament (House of Commons and House of Lords) and receive royal assent before they can be implemented. These laws are officially called "Acts of Parliament".

Act Of Settlement:

a very important act of the British Parliament: passed in 1701, it specified that Queen Anne's successor could be only her closest Protestant relative (which eventually turned out to be the first Hanoverian monarch, George I) and also restricted the powers of the monarch yet further after the Bill of Rights introduced statutary curbs in 1688. Even today, no monarch of Britain can be a Catholic or married to one - bit of an anachronism or what?

Act Responsibly:

perhaps a bit didactic in tone, nevertheless it is a useful dictum to guide us in life.

Acting On A Hunch

to take action on the basis of a feeling or a suspicion, not on decuctive reasoning.

Acting On A Tip-Off:

an expression conjuring up images of a police informant. If the police receive a tip-off, they receive information, usually from an anonymous source, that an illegal act is being planned. The police may then take action based on the tip-off to thwart the illegal act. Thus they "act on a tip-off".

Acting Together:

parties who agree to take joint measures, who aact in concert, are said to be qcting together in some joint endeavour.

Action Man:

man of action; also the name of a toy for young boys. I think it was called "GI Joe" in the USA.

Action Not Words:

however fine words may be they only achieve results if they are put into action. While I love words and attach a high importance to them, they are after all a means and not only an end in themselves. Politicians please note. Perhaps to be used for a working breed.

Action Plan:

a plan for taking action, a blueprint.

Action Stations:

to be at action stations, is to be in the place where you should be in order to take emergency action. You often hear the expression in science fiction movies where the crew of a spaceship have to return urgently to their allotted places to operate their equipment, for example to escape attack by enemy space vessels.


full of action and excitement. A novel or film can be described as being action-packed, like Superman, Indiana Jones or James Bond.

Active Combatant:

fancy name for a soldier. Note that in British English, the stress or tonic accent is on the first syllable and that there is only one "t".

Active Inertia:

a paradox: if you are active, you can't really suffer from inertia.

Active Member:

a member (of a club, association or even an MEP) who plays a full participatory role, as opposed to a sleeping member. Be careful how you use this expression, if you use it at all: it may produce some bawdy guffaws.

Active Role:

adopted by someone who participates fully in a particular activity

Active Service:

the period a soldier, sailor or airman spends serving his country in a military way: "He has spent five years on active service".

Active Service:

to be on active service means to serve in one of the armed forces (the army, the navy or the air-force) and to be engaged actively in military activity.

Active Support:

not just paying lip-service to a cause but actually getting involved practically.

Active Volcano:

one that erupts regularly (as opposed to a passive or an extinct volcano).

Acts Accordingly:

taking steps in accordance with a previously agreed plan or strategy.

Acts The Part:

to act in way that is appropriate to the part one is supposed to be fulfilling, in a way that is fitting under the circumstances.

Acute Acoustics:

being able to pick up, detect or reproduce very subtle noises.

Acute Vision:

very keen sight.

Ad Absurdum

"reductio ad absurdum" is Latin for taking something to its logical (though ridiculous) conclusion.

Ad Hoc:

existing or created for a particular purpose: an "ad hoc committee" is a committee set up specifically to accomplish or deal with one issue. It is a Latin phrase: "ad" meaning "to" or even "for", and "hoc" "this", thus meaning "to this end", "for this purpose". Come on, it's not rocket science!

Ad Infinitum:

continuing for infinity, going on for ever and ever, e.g. one-third is 33.3333333 ad infinitum. Where would we be without those Romans? What concision!

Ad Libitum:

or more colloquially "ad lib" which can also be a verb, to ad lib" as well as an averbial phrase. It is what an actor or comedian does when he strays from the script and begins to improvise. Latin for : "At liberty","freely", "at (one's) pleasure", "as you wish".

Ad Multos Annos

Latin for "many happy returns" ("cento du questi giorni" in modern Italian) whioh people wish those who are celebrating their birthday. If there is any equivalent in French (apart from "joyeux anniversaire"), please let me know.

Adam's Ale:

a picturesque synonym for water (also called "poor man's wine", based on similar logic).


this is my affix, Tonispada, written backwards, in other words, a palindrome. You might also try rearranging the letters (anagram). All sorts of possibilities there...

Adapt And Survive:

a rather ominous imperative, "or else..." being implied. Succinct summary of Darwin's theory of evolution perhaps.

Adapted For Radio:

an oft-heard phrase on the radio, usually involving the dramatisation of a literary classic.

Added Dimension:

something which enhances the quality or enjoyment of a particular experience. "The new sound quality of your car stereo really gives an added dimension to this recording of Beethoven's 9th."

Added Poignancy:

a profoundly moving or touching experience (which is therefore generally positive) or something which is distressing to the mind or feelings (which is therefore negative). This is increased if you put the word "added" in front, ("greater poignancy"). For example, 'In the latest film about the life of Jesus, the very moving scene in which Judas kisses Christ is given added poignancy by what everyone in the audience knows will follow."


a very literary or antiquated expression much favoured by writers of two or three hundred years ago. A general insult, "fool" might be more a modern equivalent. However it is not strong or particularly insulting.The reason why I have included it here is because, despite its negative meaning, it is has such a friendly, cosy sound.

Adds Colour:

there is the literal meaning but there is also a figurative sense of "enhancing" or "improving", e.g. "The hand gestures that people use in Italy really add colour to a conversation."


Admirable Trait:

a quality in someone's character that is worthy of admiration.

Admirably Suited:

very well matched

Admire The View:

Admit The Truth:

fairly self-explanatory, stop lying or concealing the truth.


expression of disapproval; cautionary advice; a mild warning; a rebuke. This word has a number of meanings none of which is particularly positive but again, I love the sound of the word. "Admonition" is a more literary synonym.

Admonitory Dream:

Adonis Blue:

a species of butterfly whose habitat is limited to the south of England. The male is a brilliant blue in colour, while the female is dull brown. The species bears the name of a character, Adonis, from Greek mythology, noted for his handsome appearance. In modern English, if a man is very handsome and/or athletic, he can be described as an Adonis.


a decoration, something designed to embellish (i.e. adorn) something else.

Adrenaline Rush:

adrenaline is a substance produced naturally in the body by the adrenaline gland. The effect of this is to enable a muscle to perform better. an "adrenaline rush" is used in colloquial English to mean a sudden burst of physical (sometimes mental)energy. Ideal for a lively dog.

Adroit Manoeuvre:

a very skilful or clever tactic, plan, movement or action. Note the British spelling retains the original French spelling. The word has been considerably altered in American English ("maneuver").

Adult Content:

destined for adults only, forbidden to children. Implies that the content of a magazine, book or film contains explicit or graphic ssxual material. Note that "content" here is a noun so the stress is on the first syllable (the stress is on the second syllable when the word is used as an adjective meaning "satisfied" or "mildly happy".


means alluding to, prefiguring, foreshadowing a later or subsequent event; or a sketch, outline or summary. I have included the word because I love its sound and look. Purely subjective but who cares? This is my glossary.

Advance Notice:

telling someone about something beforehand; to warn or prepare someone about something before it happens.

Advance Warning:

similar to the previous entry but stronger (as "warning" is stronger in meaning than "notice").


an adjective to describe something which gives an advantage to someone. An advantageous situation is one which benefits the person who is in it.

Adventure Story:

a narrative in which a number of exciting events happen to the hero or heroine. They are particularly read and appreciated by children and teenagers.


an adjective describing somone who loves adventure or whose life is full of adventure: "He led an adventurous life in Africa, before retiring to rural Bedfordshire." "He's too adventurous for his own good".

Aegean Sea:

part of the Mediterranean Sea, which principally separates Greece and Turkey. It is strewn with myriad islands, most of which belong to Greece. Rich in cultural associations and therefore most suitable for cultured canines.

Aerial Photo:

a photo(graph) of the ground, usually taken from an aeroplane. Useful for topographical and even historical purposes


a shape that facilitates flight: best used for an athletic-looking dog.

Aeroplane Flight:

if you do a lot of flying, you might use this as a name for your dog. Note that in American English, the first word is written "Airplane" (remember the American sixties group, Jefferson Airplane? Ah, Grace Slick.....)

Aesop's Fables:

no-one knows whether Aesop really existed or not but his fables are among the earliest examples of Greek (and indeed European and world) literature. Worth reading even nowadays.


someone who lives for art, harmony and beauty (adjective, aesthetic q.v.)


the study or philosophy of assessing the worth of any form of art. In this dull science-oriented world, a knowledge of aesthetics is really important. I have come to the conclusion that art, more than anything else in life, makes life worthwhile. However, a developed sense of humour comes second, behind friendship, love and a sense of the transcendent. And even then, dance and jazz are beyond me. Sorry....


the quality possessed by those who are affable, that is, friendly, easy to talk to or get on with.


friendly, easy to talk to and get on with.


positive, optimistic, denoting agreement or approval, asserting that something is true or correct. This was used in a rather comic way in "the television series "Star Trek" to mean "yes". Never use one syllable when four will do!





preplanned. The word only exists these days in the legal expression "Malice aforethought", that is, the planning of a criminal or evil act. Perhaps it does not appeal to you but I love the shape and sound of the word. It has an endearing aura of medieval or Shakespearean English.

African Rhythms:

perhaps best for an African breed: Rhodesian ridgeback (why do they not call it a Zimbabwean Ridgeback now?), basenji, azawakh, etc. Might be chosen by a fan of world music, pop, jazz or even rap.

After A Fashion:

a literary way of saying "in a way" "to a certain extent" and so on (from the French word "façon", from which we get the word "fashion").

After Dark:

when day has gone; at night-time. Ideal for a dark coloured dog, preferably black.

After Hours:

after shops have closed (usually 6 p.m. in Britain) and by extension, in the evening or at night. Also the name of a brilliant but underrated film by Martin Scorsese, the first half-hour or so is quite chillingly surreal. A disorienting sense of menace pervades much of the film. I have only seen it once but at the time it made a deep impression on me.

After Midnight:

the meaning is obvious. Best for a black dog perhaps?

After The Storm:

can be used metaphorically of the period of calm after a major crisis, war in particular. In the literal sense, the calm after a storm is masterfully conveyed in Beethoven's incomparable Sixth Symphony, the Pastoral. Check it out!

After The Watershed:

after 9 p.m. in the evening with reference to television and radio (public broadcasting). Beforehand, only programmes suitable for watching with children can be broadcast. This once meant no sex, violence or bad language. These days, these limits seem to be very laxly applied.


an effect which follows a cause. Often used in connection with a disease, a disaster or some other negative phenomenon. "The after-effects of the medicine had greater repercussions on his health than the untreated disease would ever have had." for example.




the glow that lingers in the sky when the sun has set. Whereas "twilight" can refer to the time as well as the reduced amount of light after sunset, "afterglow" emphasizes the red or yellow glow in the sky. Used figuratively, the word is used to describe the pleasant feelings that linger after a particularly agreeable experience or event.



the period immediately after some momentous event, particularly a disaster (natural or man-made). E.g. "Millions of people became stateless refugees in the aftermath of the war."

Afternoon Nap:

Afternoon Treat:


the lesser seismic shocks which occur after the main or first earthquake. Also used figuratively for a state of mind where the shock produced by an unpleasant experience.


a thought which occurs to the thinker later than the others. Also an idea which is of less importance than others. E.g. "The idea of painting that wall a different colour from the others was actually an afterthought".


Aga Saga:

novels (or soaps) that describe middle-class country life. A "saga" is a long, especially Scandinavian, poem dealing with heroes and other events of Norse mythology. An "Aga" is an expensive cooker which is normally seen only in country kitchens.

Again And Again:

Against All Odds:

despite many problems and although expectations of success were very low, you achieve your goal. "Although he was not very good at the theory or the practice and his instructor was convinced that he would fail, Paul passed his driving test against all odds first time."

Against The Clock:

when you have to complete a task in as short a time as possible, you are working against the clock. In other words, the only rival or competitor you have is time itself - the clock.

Against The Grain:

if something goes against the grain, it is unacceptable to the speaker, perhaps even morally. "I will give you a reference but, in view of your recent conduct, it really goes against the grain." The speaker does as he has been asked but reluctantly. The expression comes from carpentry and refers to planing against the natural grain of the wood, which is difficult and may even damage the wood.

Against The Rules:

in violation of or contrary to the rules or procedures laid down or conventionally followed in a specific context, time or place.

Against The Tide:

in most parts of the world, outside the Mediterranean Sea, there are tides owing to the pull of the moon. "High tide" is when the tide is closest to the land and "low tide" is when the sea is at its maximum distance from the shore. When the tide is coming in, the sea's currrents are moving towards the shore and this makes any attempt to swim out to sea more difficult because the swimmer would be swimming against the tide. This could be given to a breed which is known for its vigor in the water.

Agape And Aghast:

Age Before Beauty:

an expression used most often by schoolchildren. If a pupil is obliged to let a teacher pass through a door, the child may whisper to himself or another child "Age before beauty", that is,"I am young and therefore beautiful while you who are older, are ugly". Childish reasoning perhaps but in any case, the phrase is normally used with a tone of levity.

Age Gap:

Age Of Aquarius:

Ha catchy tune from the epoch-making musical "Hair", which celebrated the rebellion and joyfuylness of the hippy movement in the 1960s. It was also notorious for full frontal nudity which had never been permitted on the British stage before. Therefore you might consider giving the name to a Chinese crested dog or a Mexican hairless. The expression comes from astrology. We are supposed to be in a transitional phase between the former Age of Pisces and the future Age of Aquarius when all will be peace,love and tolerance. It cannot come soon enough for me but I do not see that many signs that it is coming. Still "dum spiro spero" as the Romans used to say.

Age Of Austerity:

Age Of Celebrity:

it has been said that we live in an age of celebrity when people are famous for being famous rather than for being remarkable or noteworthy. What an odd society we live in. The word "celebrity" has a secondary meaning: "fame".

Age Of Democracy:

Age Of Majority:

when you legally become an adult: you can marry without parental consent, vote, own property, etc. In most countries, people reach the age of majority when they turn 18, though when I was younger, it was 21.

Age-Old Custom:

some countries are prone to an exaggerated respect for or belief in a post or institution simply because it is ancient. In the case in point, a custom is involved (from the British custgom of kissing under the mistletoe, through High Court judges, and indeed baristers, wearing costumes from a bygone age, to the former hereditary House of Lords to name but three "age-old customs". An irritating tendency when apathy, inertia and unquestioning deference pervade society.

Age-Old Ritual:

see under "Age-Old Custom", except more meaningless. I have never been able to understand some people's need for man-made ritual though I accept it out of tolerance. Having said that, even I enjoy singing Christmas carols in church at Christmas time even though I have no faith

Age-Old Wisdom

true wisdom is worthy of respect, whether it is age-old or modern. From the philosophical grandeur of the ancient Greeks to the geniuses of the Renaissance, to the unimaginable mind of modern scientists like Einstein, they have all contributed to mankind's development and generally to the sum of human happiness and enlightenment.

Ageing Juvenile:

not always a flattering expression applied to a man (occasionally a woman) who is not growing old gracefully (e.g. long greying hair, tight-fitting clothes with a beer-gut). I first heard the expression on the BBC radio programme "Round The Horne", used in connection with a particular character, Binkie Huckerback (?), who was always described as an "ageing juvenile", that is an actor who was basically too old for the roles he was taking.

Ageing Rocker:

a rock star, especially in a heavy metal or prog rock band, who is basically getting "over the hill", too old for the music he is performing. Several names spring to mind but my charitable disposition constrains me to silence!


Agitated Inertia:

I love paradoxes and contradictions. This one sounds great and is suited to either a very laid-back dog or else one that is excitable.

Aglio e olio

my favourite pizza: garlic with olive oil. Simple but scrumptious.

Agony Aunt:

a female consellor employed usually by a magazine or popular newspaper whom readers may contact for personal advice, often, but not exclusively, of a sexual nature.

Agony Uncle:

a man employed to do the same thing as an agony aunt (q.v.). A slightly more recent phenomenon I think.

Agrees To Differ:

this would work only if youcan put your affix in front of the individual dog's name, e.g. "Tonispada Agrees To Differ". As for its meaning, if you say "We'll have to agree to differ" you indicate that you disagree with what your interlocutor says while accepting his right to hold different views. A slightly grandiloquent way of expressing tolerance.


Ahead Of His/Her Time:

someone who is a pioneer or forerunner in his/her field of activity, e.g. "Leonardo Da Vinci was an inventor of genius: he really was ahead of his time."

Ahead Of The Field:

to be in front; to lead a group; to have no other close competitors; to be a pioneer in one's specific subject. A term from horse-racing, it refers to a horse which is a long way in front of the other horses.

Ahead Of The Game:

anticipating everything that rivals do so as to remain in the lead compared with them. Another way of saying this is "to be streets ahead of somebody".

Ahead Of The Pack:

ahead of your rivals, out in front, better than the rest.

Ahead Of Time:

in advance of a previously agreed time, early. Could be good for a dog that does things with enthusiasm.


the Buddhist and Hindu concept of non-violence to living things. While I acknowledge that a human being cannot be entirely consistent inasmuch as we are prepared to kill (fellow humans and animals) under certain circumstances, like self-defence, too few of us put ahimsa into practice by being, for example, vegetarian. I have been one for thirty years and more and it has had no deleterious effect on me at all. I also feel better in my conscience. I say if you can cheerfully go out and butcher a cow or a lamb and then eat it, go ahead. If you could not do so but instead you pay someone else to do it for you, then there is an element of inconsistency in your reasoning. If you want to see what eating meat involves, visit your nearest abbatoir. If that doe not convince you, nothing will...

Aid And Abet:

this is a legal expression and means to be complicit in a crime with someone else. You may not have invented the plan to rob a bank but you did take part in the robbery itself. You may have been just a lookout, but as such, you were nonetheless aiding and abetting the robbery.

Aim For The Stars:

if you have ambitions, they should be lofty ones. Don't just aim for the moon, aim for the stars. Aim as high as you can in life.

Aiming For Gold:

aiming high and for the best, not for second best. A positive and exhortative phrase.

Aiming High:

planning to do very well in something.

Aiming To Please:

implies a dog that intends to please its master, to do his bidding. "Of course our company will do its utmost to conform to your wishes, sir. Our motto is 'We aim to please'" for example.

Air Of Mystery:

Air Turbulence:

if there is excessive turbulence during a flight, the plane will move violently up and down. A most unpleasant experience associated almost exclusively with planes and air travel.

Airs And Graces:

a rather old-fahioned, quaint expression: if you give yourself "air v s and graces", you act in a way that gives the impression that you are better tha else



with hand on hips and elbows projecting outwards. Of course this could only apply to the human body: it would be very difficult to put a dog in an akimbo position, after all, dogs do not have arms at all. Still I like the look and sound of the word.

Alabala Basta:

Bizarre and very idiosyncratic. When I was a child, my father taught me a nonsense rhyme which he said was made up by a childhood friend of his. It makes no sense and cannot really be transcribed into written form in any authoritative way. However, I have done my best - and Dad, this one's for you: Ara Chica Ra Chica Ra Mooni Alabala Basta Ara Pooni Chinese Wotwot Not really even a pale imitation of Lewis Carroll but it brings a host of childhood memories flooding back!

Alabaster Statue:

Alarm Bell:

Alas And Alack:

Album Track:


Alien Abduction:

true or not? Well, obviously they are all loonies but such a phenomenon really appeals to my imagination (- what if......)

Alien Alias:

Alien Invasion:

reminds me of the brilliant 1990s series "The X-Files" the best thing to come out of the USA, together with the Simpsons, Stanley Kubrik and federalism as a political theory. Most films about alien invasions are negative with the aliens unquestioningly cast in the role of baddies, yet some have shown aliens in a more sympathetic light.

Alien Nation:

Alight Other Side:

Alive And Kicking

implies a dog who is very vigorous, lively and dynamic.

All A-Flutter:

All A-Tremble:

All Aboard:

is what a captain on a boat would say to encourage people to come aboord quickly: an invitation to board a ship. Can be heard being shouted by John Lennon in the song "Yellow Submarine": "And our friends are all aboard..."

All Afire:

All Aflame:

All Aglow:

the feeling you get when you have just done a sporting activity or when you walk into a warm room after a long walk in the snow in winter, a sort of healthy glow, a tingle, an agreeable sensation of warmth as if you were aglow (that is, alight). Somebody who had red cheeks may be described as having "cheeks that are all aglow".

All Agog:

quite astonished by or enthusiastic about : "The public were all agog to hear the explanation of the government's resignation."

All And Sundry:

just anybody, the masses, everyone: implying that the quality of the people is not very good. Often used in a dismissive tone and with snobbish overtones. "When I hired you as a bouncer at my nightclub, I did not expect you would allow all and sundry in." I like the phrase but it may not be everyone's cup of tea, especially as a dog's name.

All Around Is Dark:

could be used for the only pale or white puppy in a litter.

All Astir:

All At Once:

suddenly, unexpectedly (cf. "tout d'un coup" in French).

All At Sea:

totally baffled, bewildered, bemused or confused.

All Bark No Bite:

All Being Equal:

also "all things being equal", means "given the same circumstances", "if things work out in the same way", translation of a Latin idiom "caetera paribus". Can anyone enlighten me? At times I find the word "cetera" meaning "other things" in Latin while at other times, it is written "caetera"? I doubt whether the Romans had two spellings for the same word. Most out of character!

All But Won:

All By Myself:

All Change:

what is said when a bus or train pulls into its terminus - all passengers must get off the train or else actually change trains. Usually shouted out by an employee (bus conductor, ticket inspector, etc.)

All Change:

All Clear:

All Day Long:

self-explanatory, indicating perhaps an obsessive dog

All Down To Luck:

All Dressed Up:

part of the phrase "All dressed up, nowhere to go", indicqting the rather sad spectacle of a middle-aged person who has prepared to go out but has either been let down by their date or never had one in the first place but was "hoping against hope"...

All Due Modesty:

All Due Respect:

used in the phrase "with all due respect" and often means the opposite of what it might seem. While an interviewer on the television might say: "Prime Minister, with all due respect, will you answer the question?", it implies that the interviewer is actually having trouble maintaining his respect for the politician in front of him who is not answering the question or at least prevaricating.

All Ears:

if you are "all ears", you are impatient to hear what your interlocutor has to say about soemthing. I cannot wait to hear your answer, Prime Minister. I'm all ears."

All Else Fails:

often used in the expression: "When all else fails", it refers to something that whatever the circumstances, something will not let you down. "When all else failed, Frodo still had Galadriel's phial, intended to shine in dark places." The implication of this expression used as a dog's name might be that all other dogs fail in comparison with this one!

All For One:

part of the motto of the three musqueteers, the heroes (with d'Artagnan) of the novel of the same name by Alexandre Dumas, the full version of which is "All for one and one for all".

All For Show:

All For The Best:

a rather fatalistic commonplace that people use when trying to resign themselves to something they can do nothing about. "I am so upset about getting the sack but I suppose it will all be for the best in the end". Yuck!

All Greek To Me:

completely meaningless or incomprehensible. A familiar expression bequeathed to us by Shakespeare from "Julius Caesar" in which Casca speaks of a speech by Cicero which the latter delivered in Greek, not Latin. The actual text is as follows "but for mine own part, 'twas Greek to me". Although Shakespearean, it is very often used nowadays too, even if in a slightly different form from Shakespeare's original version.

All Guns Blazing:

a thing not done subtlely but designed to intimidate more than to persuade. "Foreign forces invaded Iraq with all guns blazing", for example.

All Hands On Deck:

a naval term: it is used to summon all mariners on board ship to gather on the deck. More generally, it can be used to mean that every available person's help will be required to perfom a certain task.

All Heart:

someone who is very sympathetic to and in empathy with other people. Some who is understanding and helpful. Just like your dog..

All Hell Let Lose:

a situation in which there was total confusion, violence and danger, as though hell had been let lose on earth. To be used perhaps for a very lively, even over-exuberant dog....

All Hell To Pay:

a very high cost will be exacted: e.g. "When he discovers our deception, there'll be all hell to pay".

All I Ask:

All I Need:

for the really devoted dog lover.

All In A Day's Work:

means "I'm just doing my job". Used modestly by someone who is basically saying "It is no different from what I usually do/ I've made no special effort" when in fact what has been produced is very good.

All In A Good Cause:

often used when money is being donated to a good cause: "My aunt has bequeathed most of her fortune to the local cats' home. Still, I suppose it is in a good cause."

All In A Row:

in a straight line, often used when talking about planting seedlings or in an agricultural or gardening context. Can be found in the nursery rhyme "Mary, Mary,quite contrary How does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells And pretty maids all in a row" I do not quite understand the context but never mind. Also used in the Beatles' best song out of so many "I Am The Walrus": "Mr city policeman, sitting pretty little policement in a row"

All In A Spin:

All In A Swim:

All In All:

All In Good Time:

means "when I have time" or even "don't rush me".

All In One Basket:

"Don't put all your eggs in one basket" is a famous English proverb. In other words, never rely on one single thing (or person) in case it (he) lets you down.

All In One:

all together: "an all-in-one solution" a single solution, not consisting in several parts but one.

All In The Game:

it's part of the game, of the whole thing so you have to accept it, everything is acceptable.

All In The Genes:

everything is dependent on genes. "It's all in the genes" means that genes determine everything. A dog has good (or even bad) genes which decide whether it will be a champion or be a poor representative of its breed. The opposite of the "nature versus nurture" debate, which gives an important role to upbringing as well as genetics, when it comes to how a puppy turns out.

All In The Mind:

it's not logical, it's part of your imagination: "I dont believe in ghosts, they're all in the mind."

All In The Stars:

our destiny is already determined, we have no say in the matter. "I refuse to go any farther. Whether we fail or succeed, it's all in the stars: I can't do anything effective about it at this stage."

All Is Forgiven:

a rather grandiose way of saying "I forgive you for everything".

All Is Not Lost:

All Is Relative:

All Is Within:

perhaps a Buddhist concept: search within.

All Mimsy:

from the monumental nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll, "Jaberwocky": "'Twas brillig and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe All mimsy were the borogroves And the mome raths outgrabe" Don't ask me what it mens but isn't it beautiful?

All Mixed Up:

perhaps not the most appropriate name for a pedigree dog but it could refer to his state of mind rather than his ancestry.

All Mod Cons:

an abbreviation frequently found in property advertisements.It means "all modern conveniences" and implies that the property is fitted out alreaddy with up-to-date equipment. Also in the same context, WC means water closet (toilet, lavatory).

All Muffled Up:

All My Loving:

All Night Long:

opposite of "all day long". Also the title of my favourite Lionel Ritchie song.

All Of A Quiver:

All Of A Sudden:

suddenly, unexpectedly.

All Or Nothing:

All Over Again:

starting from the beginning again, going back to the start, starting from scratch again.

All Over The Shop:

All Over The World:

self-explanatory. Maybe best used for a dog with an international ancestry.

All Part Of The Fun:

All Pull Together:

an exhortative expression urging people to work together for the common good. Social or professional solidarity, right on.

All Right Now:

everything is fine now. Also the title of an iconic song by Free from the early 1970s. It reached No. 2 in the charts if my memory serves me well....

All Said And Done:

used in the expression "When all's said and done". It means "ultimately", "in the final analysis", in the end", "having taken everything into consideration".

All Set:

this simply means "ready": "Are you all set?" (=are you ready?).

All Ship-Shape:

all in good order. This is part of the phrase "(Everything is)Ship-shape and Bristol fashion" which means that everything is going well, without a hitch. It is seldom heard these days and the full phrase with "... and Bristol fashion" is almost never encountered.

All Shook Up:

grammatically speaking, the past participle of "to shake" is "shaken": "shook" is the past simple form. However I doubt whether Elvis Presley fans care too much and in view of the fact that this song is a pop classic, I think even I can turn a blind eye.

All Spruced Up:

colloquial term for very well dressed and turned out, usually to go to a party or meet someone special.

All Star Cast:

a theatre play or even a film which features lots of famous actors and actresses can be described as having an all star cast. The cast is the list of actors in a play or film.

All Summer Long:

self-explanatory really. Compare "All Day Long" or "All Night Long". For those who love sharing the best season of the year with their best four-legged friend(s).

All Systems Go:

everything is prepared (for departure): all the machines needed for a certain procedure, especially departures, are in working order and ready for use. Often used in a science fiction context, for example, when a rocket or spece ship is about to leave to blast off into space. I am not really a scince fiction fan when it comes to literature but I usually go and see a science fiction film.

All Taste No Waste:

All That Glitters:

part of an old Englilsh addage: "All that glitters is not gold", meaning basically beware of appearances. Just because something looks like gold, it doesn't mean it is gold.

All That Jazz:

slang, and presumably American in origin since jazz is an American musical genre, meaning "(and) all that", "(and) that sort of thing", "etc.", "(and) so on". Ideal for your dog if you like jazz. Personally, I don't, but that is more a failing in me than in jazz as a musical phenomenon. On the other hand, I love the sound and look of the word.

All That's Left:

All The Best Tunes:

from the expression: "The devil has all the best tunes". In other words, non-religious songs are better than religious ones (ie. hymns, carols). Maybe the case with rock music in the 1960s, but surely not true in respect of contemprary pop/rock stuff. Furthermore, even someone like me enjoys hymns like "Abide With Me" and many Christmas carols.

All The Better:

All The Boxes:

All The Criteria:

All The Rage:

despite what you might think, the expression "It's all the rage" means it is terrifically popular, the "flavour of the month". Slang but not vulgar.

All The Trimmings:

All The Way:

All This And More:

a cliché that talks up something: "Rich, handsome, dashing and intelligent - James was all this and more.".

All Thumbs:

meaning someone does not have the manual dexterity to do something: "I caqn't thread this needle: I'm all thumbs." Awkward, clumsy, maladroit.

All Time High:

if something reaches an all time high, it has never been as high before in history: "The price of gold is sky-rocketing: it's at an all time high."

All To Gain:

All To Play For:

deriving from sport. If a football team have "all to play for", they still stand a good chance of winning a match, even though they may be one goal down or the score is level pegging. An optimistic expression..

All To Win:

All Together Now:

a request for everyone in a group to work together, and particularly to sing or pull together. The conductor of a choir might say to the choristers "All together now!" just before they all burst into song. Also the title of a lesser work of the Beatles.

All Told:

in total, in all: "They have thirty dogs, all told". With everything included or counted

All Too Soon:

All Too True:

All Very Fine:

All Very Well:

All Walks Of Life:

All Well And Good:

often used in the context: "if......, then all well and good. If not, ...........". "If you are happy with your current salary, all well and good. If not, phone our personnel department." "That's fine", "That's good", "no problem".

All Will Be Well:

a bit of self-help here, designed to boost someone's morale. Perhaps a tenet of the Buddhist world-view.

All Will Be Well:

All Winter Long:

like "all summer long", "all night long" or "all day long". Maybe for a white dog? Or a sled dog?

All Work No Play:

Most often used in the expression "All work (and) no play make Jack a dull boy". It means that you have to enjoy yourself and not be serious all the time otherwise your character will suffer.

All Year Round:

without a break, without respite, twenty-four seven, throughout the year, without seasonal variation.

All's Fair:

part of the old saw: "All's fair in love and war", justifying the more selfish manifestations of human nature (as though mankind ever seems to need justification for its selfish acts). Sorry - waxing a tad censorious there.

All's Well:



which embraces or includes everything; comprehensive, all-inclusive



similar in meaning to "all-embracing". See preceding entry.

All-Out Effort:

a great, super-human effort to accomplish a task.

All-Out Strike:

All-Over Tan:




someone who is good at everything. Often used in a school context: "He really excels at sports, science and arts subjects. He's a real all-rounder". You might used the word "polyvalent" in French to express the concept.


All-Time High


something that can be used no matter what the weather, espcially car tyres. Could well be used for a working dog, out in all weathers, impervious to the cold or wet. Also a shepherd dog, for the same reasons.


an artistic device where a real, actual situation is depicted but using a different mythical or fictional parallel context. For example, the novel "Animal Farm" by George Orwell was an allegory for Stalin's Russia. Some have seen an allegorical dimension in Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" for the situation in Europe with the rise to power of Adolph Hitler, though Tokien denied that that ws his intention. More overtly, C.S. Lewis's "Narnia" books were intended as Christian allegories. And in that context, the greatest allegorical work in English-language fiction was probably Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress".


a garlic eater - if you like garlic as much as I do, you would think this a positive rather than a negative practice. It is certainly better than some of the things that dogs habitually eat.


a poetic technique,sometimes used also for comic effect, when several successive sounds seem similar or the same, especially the first letter of each word. The technique is frequently found in tongue-twisters: "round the ragged rock the ragged rascal ran" or "she sells sea-shells on the seashore", and even "the sixth sheikh's sixth sheep's sick", which is reputed to be one of the most difficult tongue-twisters for non-native English-speakers to perform successfuly (it's not exactly a doddle for native English-speakers either!). You can also hear alliteration for purely poetic effect in the first line of Keats's famous poem "To Autumn": "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness". Superb sounds sending senses into a spin of sensuous sensation for the simple sake of it (not to labour the point...).

Allow Me To Finish:

Almond Croissant:

my favourite breakfast. It knocks the spots off cereals, toast and especially fird breakfast. Ugh!

Almost Addictive:

Almost Human:

this is probably meant to be a compliment to man's best friend or indeed to any member of the animal kingdom that is not human. I would question the premise on which the statement is based. I have had many canine companions in my life whose affection and selflessness has been higher than that of any human I have known.

Almost There:

how many parents have tried to soothe their fractious offspring during a car journey with the words "We're almost there"? It never works but they keep on doing it! Also a hit song by Andy Williams in the 1960s for those who like that sort of thing.

Alone At Last:

Alone In A Crowd:

Alone Not Lonely:

Alpha And Omega:

the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Also used in a religious sense to describe God: the first and last of everything, the all in all.

Alpha Beta Gamma:

the first three letters of the Greek alphabet. For those who respect Greek culture so much and are so grateful for its legacy.

Alpha To Omega;

A to Z in the Greek alphabet. The "all in all". The first and the last. Everything known to man (and more). Christ was once described as the alpha and the omega, the be all and end all, the start and the finish


for those who like anything connected with alphabets and languages.

Alpine Avalanche:

Alpine Pastures:

Alpine Vistas:

perhaps for a mountain dog or the name for a dog belonging to someone who loves the mountains (and not necessarily only the Alps).

Altered Reality:

often used in connection with experiences induced by drugs or a trenscendental experience. Perhaps merely a perception of reality which we do not often experience.

Altered States:

or altered states of mind, similar to altered reality.

Alternative Plan:

Alternative Venue:

another meeting place. Don't know why I have included this phrase - I just like it.

Alternative View:

fairly obvious in meaning. In American English, they might say "alternate view" but in British English, the adjectives "alternate" and "alternative" have different meanings. No I am not going to tell you: find out for yourself if you do not already know.

Alternative View:



the grey metal suitable for a blue (or grey) dog. Note that in American English there is no second "i" and the stress is on the second syllable. Why the second "i" is missing in American English I cannot say as the word is "aluminium" in French and "aluminio" in Italian to name but two.

Always A Pleasure:

perhaps a cliché but one which is nonetheless pleasant to hear.

Always By My Side:

Always Greener:

form the proverb "the other man's grass is always greener", that is, we always want to have what we have not got or we always envy the good fortune of others.

Always Hip-Score:

if you really want to get up the noses of the people in your breed (and others) who use all sorts of excuses and justifications not to score their dogs' hips, I challenge you to give this name to your dog. You may even stir a few consciences.

Always In A Hurry:

unfortunately this is the situation in which far too many of us find ourselves these days:and they then wonder why we are stressed and drop dead of heart attacks and strokes in our fifties. What arrant hypocrisy!

Always On My Mind:

apart from the obvious meaning, the song "You Were Always On My Mind" was a huge hit in Britain for Elvis Presley in the 1970s although originally recorded by Brenda Lee a decade or so earlier. It was also a huge hit over ten years later for the Pet Shop Boys.

Always Positive:

what every one of us should strive to be. I have tried the negative, blasé approach and believe me, it does not work. Obviously most apt for a happy-go-lucky, outgoing dog.

Always Too Early:

for a dog that finds it difficult to wake up in the morning (or maybe whose owner exhibits similar difficulties).

Ama Tyelka:

Elvish for "Agility", according to the research of J.R.R.Tolkien. Since it looks feminine it could be better used for a bitch.


Amateur Scribbler:

Amazing Grace:

the beatiful hymn which became popular in the as a result of the hit version of the 1970s by Judy Collins.

Amber Gold:

self-explanatory presumably for a dog of yellow colour.

Amber Spyglass:

the second volume in Philip Pullman's brilliant trilogy, "His Dark Materials" which I cannot recommend highly enough. Why the film was not a success I do not understand. Are there any more films planned to cover this volume and the third one in the series ("The Subtle Knife")? I do hope so.


a person who uses both hands with equal ability. The adjective "ambidextrous" is more often used than the noun.


with equal ability to use both right and left hands. True ambidexterity is apparently rare. Most people are right-handed. What criteria you would use to give this name to a dog I dn not know but I like both the shape and sound of this word.


able to use both hands equally well, being neither exclusively left-handed or right-handed.

Ambitious Apathy:

as you may have noticed, I love oxymorons and paradoxes. Here is another..

Ambulance Chaser:

someone, often a lawyer, who chases ambulances, which might contain people who have been injured and who might like to sue the person who caused their accident. A tout offering his services to someone who has been injured in order to make business. The activity has a somewhat unwholesome air around it.

Ame Caline:

French for "loving soul". It was the title of a song by French singer Michel Polnareff in the 1960s and, with the title "Soul Coaxing", an instrumental version by Raymond Lefèvre and his orchestra which had greater international success. It reminds me of a time when I was actually in France improving my French. A bit of nostalgia.

Amen To That:

the meaning is: "I fully agree" or "hear hear!" Often implies not just agreement but a certain degree of relief.Colloquial.

Amen To That:


Amiable Ambience:

Amin Mela Lle:

Elvish for "I love you". So I'm a Tolkien fan, unabashed and unashamed. It's a free country........

Among Friends:

one of the nicest places to be anywhere.

Amorous Ardour:

just what is required from a good stud dog (or indeed bitch, come to that!).

Amorous Tryst:

Ample Recompense:

more or less the same as "Ample Reward"

Ample Reward:

very generous compensation

Ample Scope:

broad possibilities, much potential.

Amusement Arcade:

a place where you can gamble away and waste as much money as you like on fruit machines, or as they used to be called "one-arm bandits". Censorious, moi?!

Amusing Quip:

a brief attempt at humour, a funny throw-away line, a quick witticism.

Amusing Retort:

a retort is a exclamation usually of surprise after some provocation and there is an idea that a retort puts your interlocutor in his place.

An Absolute Must:

An Apple A Day:

in days when medicalscience was not as advanced as now, they often had to resort to folklore for remedies. Even when I was a child, there were a lot of these "self-help",old wives' remedies. The full expression is "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

An Arm And A Leg:

if something costs an arm and a leg, it is extremely expensive. For example, buying property in Kent costs an arm and a leg these days (et je parle en connaissance de cause).

An Awkward Truth:

almost the title of the Al Gore documentary which won him a Nobel Peace Prize ("An Inconvenient Truth) about global warming.

An Eye For An Eye:

the basis of fairness in meting out justice: if you put out someone's eye, he has the right to do the same to you. Perhaps rather crude but it lay the basis of wertern concepts of legal process, justice and retribution. Also called the law of talion, from which the verb "to retaliate" derives.

An Eye For Detail:

An Oxford Scholar:

what I was when studying at my alma mater. Why not - a privilege to have gone to one of the best universities in the world for which I shall be eternally grateful.

An/The Awkward Truth:

a real situation the implications of which are not pleasant, often leading people to avoid the subject altogether.


someone who is not in their real or proper time. Reference to clocks striking in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" is an example of anachronism.Also used for people who wan to stay in the past and not adapt to modern ways of doing things.If that means eschewing most sorts of modern technology, right on!

Analytical Mind:

some dogs really seem to be philosophers. I had a curly-coated retriever who looked at times as though he were carrying all the burdens of the world on his shoulders. Don't tell me dogs don't think. Whether they possess an analytical mind or not is more of a moot point. However I could introduce you to many, many people who do not have analytical minds at all. So don't take it out on dogs!

Analytical Mind:

Anarchic Humour:

the surreal humour of Monty Python, which may be an acquired taste but which surely ranks among the best in the world, is often described as anarchic humour. Thank God for Monty Python, without which I would have been hauled off to the funny farm decades ago. "Life of Brian" the best comic film par excellence of all time.

Ancien Régime:

a catch-all phrase describing societies and political institutions in most of Europe before the French Revolution. Needless to say, within a century of the French Revolution, most of the Ancien Régime not only in France but practically everywhere else in European had been swept away, monarchical rule, aristocratic privilege, Church dominance and so on. Two hundred years on even more so.

Ancient Aphorism:

Ancient Custom:

while "old" does not usually mean "best", most English people feel quite comfortable with ancient customs. Perhaps best used for a dog that is an old English breed.

Ancient Greece:

Ancient Language:

Ancient Rome:

Ancient Treasure:

if you unearth an ancient artefact, item of jewellery or work of art in the UK, it is called "treasure trove" and becomes the property of the nation. It is not a matter of "finders keepers". Your dog may be young now but in the vast majority of cases he/she will become old and therefore likely to be the most important ancient treasure you will ever have. And no-one will be able to take that treasure away from you.

Ancient Wisdom:

And A Good Job Too:

often said by someone who approves of, or even expresses relief at, an event. For example: "Sally has passed her exams with flying colours!" "And a good job too, considering how hard she studied!"

And Counting:

And Disorderly:

And How:

And In Conclusion:

a set phrase used when a speaker is winding his speech up. Could be used for the name of a puppy in someone's last litter before they retire from dog-breeding.

And No Mistake:

an expression most common in the north of England and frequently tacked on to a sentence as an afterthought: "Eee, she's a right battle-axe and no mistake". It means "without any doubt", "most definitely".

And Pigs Will Fly:

meaning that something will never happen: often use as a retort or rejoinder by someone who objects to something that has just been said on the ground of implausibility. "In a hundred years time, you will be able to transport yourself anywhere in the world in the twinkling of an eye." "Yes, and pigs will fly!" (CF: French, "Quand les poules auront des dents"("When hens have teeth").

And Proud Of It:

And So Much More:

And So To Bed:

And Statistics:

part of a much longer dictum: "There are lies, damned lies and statitics." Popularised, but not coined, by Mark Twain, it emphasises the unreliabiity of statistics or to put it another way, that statistics can be used in support of any thesis and are on occasion used to to defend the indefensible, the outrageous or the downright fallacious.

And Still It Rains:

And Why Not Indeed:

a rhetorical question indicating that the speaker believes he has every right to do what he is doing, despite your objections. The sort of thing good old Victor Meldrew would say (see "Meldrew Musings").

Angel Eyes:

dogs sometimes have eyes that would melt the hearts of all but the most callous among us, limpid pools of love. There is an old English expression: "The eyes are the mirror of the soul". So if your dog has such orbs of loveliness in his head, you might consider the use of this expression as his pedigree name. I would also point out that there was a great song by the Swedish super-group Abba called "Angeleyes" but that was all in one word.

Angelic Host:

the army of the angels: the original meanting of "host" was "army", "military forces". Most English-speakers will recall the line in a very famous Christmas carol (a hymn sung in the Christmas period concerning the nativity) "Hark the Herald Angels Sing": "With the angelic host proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem".

Angelic Laughter:

Angelic Smile:


one of the peoples from whom the English descend. The Anglo-Saxons were here before the Vikings, after which the Normans came. There is also a very strong Celtic influence on most of us too. Very few families in the UK could claim to have no Welsh, Scottish or Irish blood. I know I have. If you really want to annoy most Englishmen, tell them they are basically Germans!



Angry Sky:


blame or criticism. Perhaps not the ideal name for a dog but I like the form of the word and of course people would ask you often what the name means.

Animal Instinct:

often used to describe the least attractive parts of human nature. This is surely unfair to most animals and certainly to dogs. Which animals other than man have engaged periodically in wholesale slaughter of their own species?

Animal Lefts:

a rather silly example of wordplay. It works only if you realise that it refers to animal rights. And that is quite another story!

Animal Magnetism:

what attracts people to one another.It might be what attracts the daughter of a duke to a "bit of rough", with a hairy chest and big biceps. Hardly likely to be his intellect. It may also be what inclines you towards dogs, their "animal magnetism".

Animal Passion:

if someone indulges in "animal passion", then they are at least one stage farther on from the effects of "animal magnetism". Uncontrolled lust.......

Animal Welfare:

surely what all animal-lovers desire, that animals should be treated properly and with respect.


a spice or flavour often found in children's sweets and in ouzo or pastis.

Ankle Biter:

would best suit a very small dog, chihuahua , corgi, Lancashire heeler, perhaps.


the hate-filled exhortation of the daleks from the BBC cult television programme, Dr Who. Could be used for a particularly boisterous puppy!

Anniversary Gala:

Anno Domini:

Annotated Copy:

Annoys An Oyster:

part of a humourous tongue-twister: "A noisy noise annoys an oyster most".

Annual Bonus:

Annual Funfair:

Annus Mirabilis:

Latin for a marvellous, outstanding year. The opposite of a Latin phrase popularised a few years ago by Queen Elizabeth II, who referred to the year 1992 as an annus horribilis because of the collapse of the marriages of two of her children and the fire which destroyed part of Windsor Castle.

Anonymous Author:

Anonymous Donor:

usually used in the context of the person who has provided an organ for transplant and whose name is not divulged to or via the media.

Anonymous Source:

Another Chance:

what you give someone if they have let you down but whose transgression you forgive.

Another Hopeful:

Answer Forty-Two:

I could not compile a glossary like this without reference to my favourite radio comedy series of all time: "The Hitch-Hikers's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams who died tragically young at the age of 49. I discovered the series quite by chance in 1977 or 1978 when it was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday afternoons. I was studying in Belgium and used to take a bath at that time so I could be alone and relaxed with my favourite "Hitch-Hiker" characters. The answer to the question of "life, the universe and everything" was, according to the calculations of the most sophisicated computer ever built, Deep Thought, forty-two, a disappointing answer in view of the fact that it took the computer millions of years to determine that forty-two was the key to everything. What a great series (the first one anyway - sequels proved disappointing).

Answer To No-One:

be your own man/woman: be subservient to no-one: do not obey the instructions of other people.

Answered Prayers:

if you have been praying for something to happen and it does, you may speak of "answered prayers".Scenario: you have been praying for a bitch to have a litter of puppies. She has been covered several times yet has remained empty. One day when she is quite elderly perhaps, she is confirmed as being in whelp. Then your prayers have been answered. What remains to be seen is whether any of the puppies is good enough.

Answers Back:



a grey colour but there seems to be little agreement on exactly what hue is meant. On occasion it seems to refer to a mid-grey colour, at times a blue-grey colour. I have also seen it refere to dark grey. If you look at the mineral anthracie, which is a form of coal, it appears to be a glossy back colour. In any case, this name is likely to suit a grey dog, though again be careful because in dogs, cats and horses, various shades of grey are referred to as blue.


attributing human characteristics to non-humans, particularly to animals. "I swear he understands every word I say".




in a direction which is opposite to that of the hands of a clock. Also referred to as "counter-clockwise". Can be spelt "anti-clockwise".


a word from the distant past. An antimacassar is (was) the cloth that is put on the head-rest of a seat in a first class railway carriage to prevent any hair-cream, brilliantine, Brylcreme or general hair pommade from soiling the permanent fabric of the seat. Maybe a name for a dog with a naturally greasy coat.


from the Antipodes, that is Australia or New Zealand. From "down under".

Antique Dealer:


the very opposite: "George W Bush was the antithesis of Abraham Lincoln" for example. Or perhaps you disagree... The opposite thesis.


the opposite of synonym: an antonym of "ephemeral" is "perdurate", a synonym of "ephemeral" is "momentary".

Any Day Now:

very soon, imminently.

Any Eventuality:

Any Excuse:

an expression of exasperation, for example when used by a parent whose son uses any excuse to get out of doing something. "Sorry, Dad. I can't tidy my room because my arm hurts." The flimsier the excuse, the more likely it is to elicit the response "Any excuse!".

Any Minute Now:

very soon indeed, very shortly. Compare "Any Day Now" or "Any Time Now".

Any Moment Now:

very shortly, imminently. Compare: "Any Minute/Day/Time Now".

Any Port In A Storm:

Any Requests:

Any Shape Or Form:

Any Time Now:

Any Time Now:

imminently, very soon. Compare "Any Day Now" or "Any Minute Now".

Anything For Love;

part of the title of a song by Meatloaf, the American rock singer (who is apparently vegetarian, good for him!) "I Would Do Anything for Love" which was a number one hit in the UK in 1993.

Anything Goes:

anything and everything is acceptable. "In this day and age, anything goes." It implies a criticism of slck standards. Also a song expressing such thoughts by Cole Porter.



a pithily phrased statement expressing a truth or an opinion. They can become proverbs, saying and so on. A maxim.

Aplomb Aplenty:

Apocalypse Now:

the apocalypse is the destruction of the physical word by God as outlined in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. "Apocalypse Now" is the masterpîece by the American film director, Francis Ford Coppola, loosely base on another masterpiece, of literature this time, Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness".

Apocalyptic Tale:

a story which involves much destruction and mayhem.


a grammatical phenomenon in Spanish. The literal meaning is "shortening" and involves the omission of the final syllables of certain adjectives: "grande" ("big") becomes "gran", "tercero" becomes "tercer" etc. in front of singular masculine nouns. Annoying but not really rocket science. Does the phenomenon exist in other languages? Spend hours trying to explain the concept to your friends and why you decided to give the word as a name for your dog!

Apocryphal Story:

same meaning as "Apocryphal Tale" (see next entry).

Apocryphal Tale:

Cervantes, the world-renowned author of "Don Quixote", also wrote a series of stories with this title. The Apocrypha was a series of books which used to be included in the Bible, such as the Book of Enoch. The word "apocryphal" therefore means anything from "secret, "esoteric" to "false" and "spurious".




the making or declaration of a human being as a deity. Naturally it does not happen much these days but was quite frequent in less enlightened times, imperial Rome for example, when emperors liked to have themselves included among the pantheon while they were still alive.

Appeals To Reason:

Apple Cider:

an alcoholic drink made from fermenting apples. Very popular in the West country in England and also in Normandy, France. Cider can also be made from pears apparently.

Apple Crumble:

a delicious form of apple pie where the top layer is crumbly, unlike normal apple pie. It is beginning to be better known abroad, thereby becoming another example of Britain's contribution to haute cuisine.

Apple Dumpling:

a traditional dessert. Fat people are sometimes described as "dumplings" so you may decide to give this name to one of the more rotund puppies in your litter.

Apple Pie:

so well known that it is scarcely worth giving a definition. My favourite dessert.

Apple Scrumpy:

Apple Strudel:

a German dessert similar to the English apple pie but a bit spicier. Oh, those Germans....

Apple-Pie Order:

in perfect order; extremely neat and tidy.If you have a dog with such qualities, lucky you!

Apply/ Applies The Brakes:

using the brakes in a vehicle, often gradually rather than slamming them on.


Approaching Forty (Fifty/Sixty):

don't worry about these "landmark" birthdays, they really are of no importance. Give your dog the name of something you fear (though not too morbid please) and, having got it out of your system, MOVE ON.

Approval Rating:


April Showers:

in Britain, April is famous as a rather wet month as evidenced in the following proverb: "March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers".


Apt Remark/Observation:

Aqua Vitae:

literally Latin for "the water of life". It refers to high-alcohol beverages such as whisky or brandy. In Scandinavia, such spirits are referred to as "aqvavit", which of course derives directly from the Latin. In Scotland, the word "whisky" is derived from two Gaelic words which mean "water of life".


the color of the sea (literally "sea water"), a blue-green colour. A bluish-green semi-precious stone, a form of beryl, is called "aquamarine".


Aquatic Aptitude:

Aquatic Ceremony:

Ara Chica Ra:

My father and a childhood friend of his, whose name I have long forgotten, devised the following piece of nonsense, the spelling of which is sheer conjecture on my part: "Ara chica ra/ chica ra mooni/ alabala basta/ ara pooni/ Chinese wotwot." Lewis Carroll eat your heart out.

Ara Pooni

see previous entry.

Arbitrary Figure:

Arbitrary Sum:



relating to trees. Some dogs can actually climb up to the lower branches of some trees. I've seen it with my own eyes...

Arcane Ritual:


a main rival or competitor. Can also be written in one word: "Archrival" or even two: "Arch Rival".


the original type, the old type, on which subsequent types are based.

Arctic Blizzard:

Arctic Explorer:

self-explanatory. Perhaps most suited to a sled dog (samoyed, malamute, husky etc.).

Arctic Snows:

perhaps for an all white or sled-dog?

Ardent Admirer:

an avid fan.

Ardent Apathy:

Ardent Supporter:

a keen supporter. Perhaps of a football or cricket team.

Arduous Path:

Arduous Road:

Are You With Me:


French for "silver" and used with this meaning (also "silver grey") in connection with heraldry.

Arguably The Best:

a good case can be made out that this dog cannot be beaten.

Argues In Favour:

Argues The Toss:

to dispute a decision, to argue about a result.

Aristocratic Air:

someone with a lordly/lady-like manner about them.

Arm In Arm:


a cataclysmic clash between good and evil, prophesied to occur at the end of the world. Similar in meaning to "apocalypse" (qv). Also used to describe more mundane tussles between countries or ideologies.

Armchair Critic:

someone who criticises something from the comfort of his own armchair without actually facing or ever having faced a particular (dangerous) situation. Someone who expresses criticism but who does not show they could do any better.

Armchair Theatre:

Armed To The Teeth:

Armistice Day:

Army Rations:


fragrant, sweet-smelling. Not an adjective which one automatically associates with dogs perhaps...

Around The Clock:

all day long; morning, noon and night; the whole day long; twenty four hours a day. Part of the title of the song that is considered to be the first pop single, "Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley and his Comets, which went into the American charts in 1954, though it was not his first hit in the UK (that was "Shake, Rattle and Roll" also in 1954).

Around The World:

Aroused Interest:

Arrest Warrant:

must be issued by a magistrate before the police can arrest someone.

Arrest Warrant:


Italian for "goodbye" or "see you soon". Perfect for an Italian breed but could be used by any Italophile like me.

Arriving Shortly:

Arrows Of Calumny:

Art Deco:

very popular style of architecture, furnishing and other decoration (=deco), and in my opinion the last such style with real taste, popular from the 1920s to the 1940s.

Art Lover:

someone who loves art in the broadest sense of the word.

Art Mirrors Life:

Art Nouveau:

an artistic style popular from the 1890s to the outbreak of the First World War. Literally it means "New Art". A wonderful trend in art and architecture mostly which was the forerunner of "Art Deco".

Arthurian Myths:

Artistic Freedom:

one of the fundamental tenets of a free, democratic society and one of the first casualties of war or dictatorship.

Artistic License:

the freedom an artist has to alter reality in the interests of improving the artistic worth of the art concerned. For example, Shakespeare distorted historical facts to produce his historical plays but such alteration of what really happened in history is perfectly acceptable because it heightens the artistic effect of the plays. In historical fact, Macbeth was quite a successful king of Scots who reigned for 17 years. His wife was called Gruoch, not Lady Macbeth. There is no reason to assume that Macbeth consulted witches to become king and the characters of Banquo and his son Fleance are inventions of Shakespeare's. But they are all perfectly acceptable under the rules of artistic license. Many would contend that Shakespeare's representation of Richard III is a caricature and has nothing to do with that king's real character or with strict historical accuracy. But it was Shakespeare's intention to produce a work of art - indeed he produced a masterpiece - but it was never intended to be a dramatised history lesson. Connected with this is the "suspension of disbelief" required when dealing with any work of art.

Artistic Revival:

when a style which has long since been abandoned in favour of another, is revived and proves popular again. The medieval Gothic style was revived very successfully in Victorian Britain (e.g. Keble College, Oxford or many a Victorian parish church).

Artless Charm:

natural charm,free of artificiality, without guile or deceit. But be careful because "artless" can also signify uncultured or crudely made. The difference between the postive and negative meanings of "artless" should be clear from the juxtaposition with "charm".

Artless Guile:

Arts And Crafts:

an artistic movement promoted by William Morris and others in the nineteenth century, which produced, among many other things, some great wallpaper never before considered as an art form.

As A Matter Of Fact:

in reality, in fact, actually.

As A Newt:

As A Rule:

generally, usually, in most cases.

As Agreed:

As Best I Can:

to the best of my ability.

As Custom Has It:

As Darkness Falls

self-explanatory really. Often used in ghost stories..

As Day Dawns:

at break of day.

As Expected:

in accordance with expectations, without any surprises.

As Far As I Know:

As Far As Possible:

whenever possible, within the limits of possibility, to the maximum extent.

As Good As A Mile:

As Good As A Rest:

from the maxim "A change is as good as a rest", in other words, new circumstances can be as stimulating as total repose.

As Good As A Wink:

from the expression "A nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse". It means that under the circumstances, even a slight hint or indication is enough to convey the speaker's meaning. If a horse is blind, it does not really matter whether you try to get his attention through making a nod of the head or a wink of the eye. Either way, he cannot see your gesture.

As Good As His/Her Word:

he/she has kept his promise. "By making funds available, the minister was as good as his word, as he promised during the election campaign."

As Good As It Gets:

things don't get better than this. Be grateful because the situation won't go on being this good. It's downhill all the way from here.

As Good As New:

if something is broken and then repaired, you may well say "Look! It's as good as new". Just as it was before it was broken or as when it was new.

As I Suspected:

As If By Magic:

As If:

used especially by young people and contituting an emphatic denial: of course that's not going to happen, of course the situation isn't like that. Similar in meaning to "You wish" or "In Your Dreams".

As Instructed:

according to the instructions provided. "I did as (I was) instructed and handed the handbag to the stationmaster."

As Is Only Fair:

As It Happens:

in fact, in reality, in point of fact, actually

As It Were:

so to speak, in a manner of speaking. A rare example in modern English usage of the use of the imperfect subjunctive of the verb "to be". (e.g. "If I were you"). Note that "As it were" does not mean the same as "As it was."

As Near As Dammit:

As Never Before:

at no previous time in history.

As Night Falls:

again it is quite clear what the sense is. I would use this for a black dog. Has a literary feel to it...

As Others See Us:

"We do not see ourselves as others see us" is a fairly well-known maxim in English and is referred to in this name.

As Predicted:

as foreseen, as mentioned already, as expected.

As Rumour Has It:

according to the rumours I have heard.

As Rumour Has It:

As Smooth As Can Be:

As The Case May Be:

As The Crow Flies:

the straight distance between two places, not taking into account the real distance involved in travelling by road between the two places, which of course is inevitably longer. "The next village is two miles away as the crow flies but three miles by car."

As The Day Is Long:

"(as)happy as the day is long", happy from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed.

As The Driven Snow:

from the expression "As pure as the driven snow" - having a spotless reputation, but often used sarcastically or ironically. Might perhaps best suit a white dog.

As The Saying Goes:

usually added rather tautologically after someone quotes a saying: "Every cloud has a silver lining, as the saying goes."

As Though/If By Magic:

if something happens as though (if) by magic, it is difficult to believe that it really has happened or how it has happened.

As Time Allows:

As Time Goes By:

with time, with age, with experience: "As time goes by, we all grow wiser" (if only that were true!). Also the name of a successful BBC comedy series, which I do not actually find very funny.

As Time Permits:

As Usual:

in the accustomed, normal, habitual way.

As Well You Might:

I give up trying to find a meaning for this expression: any offers?

As Years Go By:

similar in meaning to "As time goes by". It was used as the basis for the Jagger-Richards song "As Tears Go By", the first hit of that sixties icon, Marianne Faithfull and an excellent example of when a cover version is even better than the original.

As You Are Me:

the third line from "I Am The Walrus".

As You Like It:

a play by William Shakespeare, generally not reckoned to be among his finest.

As You Might Say:

a phrase added to a sentence perhaps to make it less stiff ar informal.(Cf French: "pour ainsi dire" or Italian: "Così per dire"/ "come si suol dire") Doesn't really mean much beyond the literal, and even then....

As You Sow:

form the Bible (Galatians): "As ye sow, so shall ye reap", or " as you sow, so shall you reap" in modern English. A bit like the buddhist and Hindu concept of karma. You are sponsible for your own actions and will be punished or rewarded accordingly. Something like that....

Ash And Cinders:

best for a grey dog of either sex but you may prefer to give it to a bitch because in pantomimes, the character of Cinderella is often called "Cinders" for shorts.

Ash Grey:

Ashes To Ashes:

from the funeral ceremony: "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust" to remind us of the mortality of man and his impermanence. Also a massive hit for David Bowie in the 1970s.

Asian Maiden:

love the assonance. Could be used for an Asian breed - there are enough of them.

Asian Tsunami:

what ever happened to the expression "tidal wave"? Why is tsunami being used instead? Why is "tsunami" better than "tidal wave"? Is it better?

Ask Me Another:

a humorous rejoinder used by somebody who has been flummoxed by a question so asks for another question in the hope that he can answer a different one.

Ask No Questions:

part of the expression: "Ask no questions, hear no lies". I have the feeling this is more of a northern English saying than a southern English one. Basically, it is a way of telling children not to ask so many questions.

Ask The Audience:

what popular tv shows often do. Whenever in doubt or stuck for an idea, ask for the vox pop.

Asking For It:

Asking Price:

the price of an item for sale; the price of an item without discounts or other incentives for purchase. As opposed to "selling price"



ambitious, desiring success.



hard-working, diligent.


rendez-vous between lovers, meeting with amorous intent.

Assumed Name:

"under an assumed name" means using a false name for some dishonest purpose.

Asteroid Belt:

a rocky belt extending round the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, separating the inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars from the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. It consists of space debris varying in size from minute grains to small planetoids, the biggest of which is Ceres.



great surprise.



Astral Travel:

the claim that the soul is able to leave the body and move about independently of it. I would think this is nonsense were it not for the fact that a trusted Italian friend of mine assures me he used to have this condition when he was younger.

Astute Manoeuvre/Move/Tactic:

astute is clever in a practical, hard-headed way. The other words are clear I think.

Astute Strategy:

Asylum Seeker:

come on, you hard-hearted lot: they aren't all scroungers. How fortunate you are not to have been the victim of repression, torture and inhumane regimes. I bet you haven't been constrained to live abroad.

At A Brisk Pace:

(moving forward) energetically. "The runners set off at a brisk pace".

At A Cracking Pace:

At A Given Signal:

when a pre-aranged signal is given: "At a given signal, you will all take shelter behind that large rock obver there."

At A Loose End:

with nothing to do, bored."Since I was at a loose end, I decided to go to the cinema on my own."

At A Loss For Words:

so shocked or surprised that you are unable to speak or find the right words.

At A Premium:

At A Rate Of Knots:

At A Safe Distance:

sufficiently far away that there is no danger of being injured.

At A/One Stretch:

all in one time; at one single sitting

At All Costs:

whatever it takes, whatever the effort required may involve; come what may; regardless of the costs involved.

At Any Rate:

in any case, anyhow.

At Arm's Length:

At Break Of Day:

as dawn breaks.

At Close Quarters:

very close, within easy striking distance. Often has a military context.

At Close Range:

at only a short distance, used particularly in connection with firearms: "He shot her at close range:she had to be taken urgently to hospital for treatment."

At Cross Purposes:

"to talk (or be) at cross purposes" is to misunderstand or misinterpet what the other interlocutor is saying. It can also mean that the two interlocutors have opposing or different objectives. "I do apologise. I think we were talking at cross purposes just now. Having discussed the matter with your boss, I now understand where you're coming from."

At Daggers Drawn:

"to be at daggers drawn with someone" is to dislike someone heartily, always to disagree on everything with somebody. Whenever I talk over anything with my boss, he always disgarees violently with what I say. We always end up quarrelling. We really are at daggers drawn. ("A couteaux tirés" in French.).

At Daybreak:

that moment when the first rays of the rising sun can be seen in the sky.

At Dead Of Night:

in the middle of the night, late in the night.

At Ease:

perfectly and happily relaxed; without stress.

At Face Value:

basing your opinion on what you actually see without further investigation into the background. "The police accepted his story at face value and decided not to look any further into the matter." See also "Face Value".

At First Glance:

when one looks briefly at the start, on the face of it, superficially, without due reflection.

At First Sight:

At First-Hand:

At Freezing Point:

At Full Capacity:

when no-one or nothing else is able to enter, to the maximum extent.

At Full Throttle:

at top speed or with great intensity.

At Full Tilt:

meaning at top speed or at the maximum: "Every spare moment he gets, he trains at full tilt."

At High Table:

At Home And Abroad:

self-explanatory really. You might choose this if you have lived for extensive periods outside your own country.

At Home Overseas:

At Large:

no longer incarcerated; on the run; escaped; free from constraint.

At Loggerheads:

If two people are at loggerheads, they constantly bicker or quarrel.

At Long Last:

an exclamation indicating exasperation. "After three hours, Jack's finally turned up! - At long last".

At Odds:

to be at odds with someone is to be in disagreement with them. It can also mean "in contradiction with":"His story seems to be at odds with the facts".

At One Remove:

Indirectly, vicariously, not personally.

At Peace:

fairly obvious but beware because if someone is described as being at peace, it may mean he is dead.

At Random:

in no logical or rational order. Without any specific pattern, objective or purpose.

At Short Notice:

with little prior warning.

At Short Notice:

At The Apex:

at the very top: at the highest point (see also "At The Pinnacle").

At The Coalface:

miners who actually mine coal as opposed to those who work at a mine but may have an office job. By extension, it refers to anyone who does the most difficult or demanding aspects of a task , who actually gets his/her hands dirty. For example, "The headmaster runs the school, but the task of ordinary teachers is to deal with the pupils. They work at the coalface." The name might suit either an industrious, hard-working dog or one that is black.

At The Crossroads:

at a point in one's life or in a process when a decision has to be made involving a change, particularly of direction. You could also say "at a crossroads".

At The Double:

instantly, immediately, with alacrity.

At The Drop Of A Hat:

instantly, without hesitation.

At The Early Stage:

At The Helm:

in charge, having responsibility for , in command.

At The Last Minute:

very late, almost too late.

At The Last Moment:

At The Pinnacle:

at the very top and very high up. The metaphorical meaning could include "He's at the pinnacle of his career": the literal meaning would involve: "He posed for a photograph on the pinnacle of Everest".

At The Ready:

already prepared, ready for immediate use.

At The Top Table:

At The Very Most:

At Your Own Risk:

on your own responsibility, understanding the danger and risks involved. "You can stroke the dog, but at your own risk!"

At Your Own Risk:

At Your Service:

at your disposal, available to help you, pleased to be of service to you.

Atalanta's Apple:

refers to an episode in Greek mythology: a maiden brought up in the wilderness, she was endowed with phenomenal strength and athletic prowess. She agreed to marry her suitors only if they could outrun her in a race. Many died in the attempt. However an enterprising youth, Melanion, obtained three golden apples from the goddess Aphrodite which he dropped in order to distract Atalanta and thus win the race. He then claimed her in marriage and they accordingly wed.

Athirst For Glory/Fame:

the attributive adjective "athirst" is normally used after to be or to become, not in front of a noun. It is quite literary. The Anatole France classic "Les Dieux ont Soif", set in the days of the French Revolution, is usually translated into English as: "The Gods Are Athirst".

Athletic Prowess:

clever use of athletic ability, outstanding athletic gifts. Best used for a breed that is a canine athlete.


the features, events and effects designed to create a distinct mood or ambience, particularly in a film, play or novel.


Atomic Age:

Attention Seeker:

a person who constantly tries to get and keep someone's attention. The expression has rather negative connotations. It would admirably suit a dog who thinks the universe revolves around him - or indeed, any cat......

Attention Span:

Attic Treasure:

Attractive Offer:

Attracts Notice:

Attracts Notice:

Au Contraire:

French for "on the contrary" and used not infrequently in English with the same meaning.


a delicious vegetable much used in Mediterranean dishes. Comes with a very dark blue or black skin which needs to be removed before cooking. For this reason, it could be used for a black or very dark-coated dog. In the USA, it is for some incomprehensible reason called an "egg plant", despite the fact that only the fruit and not the whole plant is eaten. We quite sensibly have adopted the French word.


a man who oversees the proceedings at an auction. Famous for their ability to talk very fast.


Audacious Feat/Deed:

an act of bravery or courage.

Audible Silence:

delighful oxymoron or paradox.

Audible Voices:

Audio Diary:

a diary where each day's events or the keeper's thoughts are recorded by voice rather than by hand in the traditional written diary.


giving information in sound and vision, e.g. audiovisual aids, the Audiovisual Unit.

Auf Wiedersehen:

"goodbye" in German.

Augurs Well:

if something "augurs well", it promises to be successful, even though the actual outcome is yet to come. "There are many advance orders for their latest record. That augurs well for its success."

August Demeanour:

Auld Lang Syne:

Scottish dialect, made famous by the Scottish dialect poet, Robert Burns, and by a song which is sung in most English-speaking countries on New Year's Eve, beginning "Should auld acquaintence be forgot". Don't ask me what it means: I spent many years trying to teach Italians, French people, Spaniards and others how to speak correct English.

Aura Of Mystery:

Auspicious Day:

Auspicious Sign:

a sign that suggests something will turn out well. "The recent upturn in the economy is an auspicious sign that the world ecomomy is on the road to recovery." Ho-hum!

Auspicious Start:

something which begins well and suggests that the final result will be successful or favourable.

Aussie Connection:

an "Aussie" means an Australian and if you have a dog imported from the Antipodes or if your puppies are of Aussie origin, this may well be the name for you.



genuineness, nothing fake or artificial, integrity.


Authority Figure:

someone who represents authority, for example, a father, a judge, a king, someone who is older and wiser than most and who commands a deal of respect.


native, indigenous.


someone who is self-taught. If you were not interested or motivated at school, you can always buy a book and read the subject up later. "Long after I had left school, I took a book on Latin and studied it myelf. I was self-taught, a real autodidact."

Autograph Hunter:

Autographed Copy:

an object (book, record) which has been signed by the original artist. "I have an autographed copy of "Abbey Road" signed by all four Beatles."

Automatic Pilot:

an expression from aviation. If you are on automatic pilot, you do things like an automaton, like a robot, without thinking carrying out the movements of a particular activity bit without engaging your brain. Often used by someone who has not had enough sleep or who has a hangover. I am always on automatic pilot until about 10.30 or 11 a.m. every day (for want of sleep, not alcoholic excess, I hasten to add) or until I have had a couple of cups of good, strong Italian coffee.

Automatic Reflex:

a relex action is when the body automatically responds or reacts to an external stimulus, regardless of the will of the person concerned. When the doctor taps your knee and it jerks outwards, that is an example of an automatic reflex. There are others but discretion prevents me from reference to them.

Autumn Almanac:

an almanac is a collection of folklore writings, usually in the form of a book, in which predictions of the year ahead are contained. Picturesque but fantastical. "Autumn Almanac" is the title of a huge 1967 hit by the band which, behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, was the best group of the 1960s, the Kinks. One of my hundred favourite singles of all time and not the only one by the Kinks to be so honoured. "Autumn" is British English for the season which the Americans call "fall". Why is beyond my ken.

Autumn Breeze:

Autumn Colours:

the rich colours of autumn are famous for their beauty everywhere around the world, consisting of the browns, yellows and reds of the leaves as they gradually die and by so doing, change colour from the greens of spring and summer. Best suited to a dog which is brown and perhaps even different shades of brown.

Autumn Equinox:

the day in autumn when day and night are of equal length. There is also a spring or vernal equinox (qv). The points in the year when daylight hours are longest and shortest are called the summer and winter solstices (qv) respectively. The autumn equinox is usually on the 22nd or 23rd of September.

Autumn Glory:

does not refer to anything specific but conjures up images of beautiful multicoloured woods or of fiery red sunsets. Maybe best suited to a brown or red dog.

Autumn Leaves:

obviously an ideal name for a brown dog, especially of more than one shade of brown.

Autumn Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night

self-evident, again especially for a brown dog or in the case of "Autumn Morning" or "Autumn Night", a frosted brown colour.

Autumn Reverie:

Autumn Sunset:

best for a dog of a rich or fiery red, like the sunsets of autumn.

Autumn Sunshine:

Autumnal Weather:

Auxiliary Verb:


French for "advance guard" and applied to the weirder and more experimental aspects of modern art. However what is avant-garde now often becomes mainstream in time.



Avenging Angel:

an angel sent by God to wreak vengeance and punishment. So much for the concept of a loving God. A vengeful God is however more closely associated with the Old Testament than the New. In any case, the connotation is not particuarly positive.


Averted Gaze:

Averted Gaze:

Avid Fan:

Avid Reader:

someone who loves reading. Like me, though my job and other commitments prevent me from indulging as often and as long as was the case when I was younger. Ah, those were the days...


a delicate and rather beautiful wading bird, black and white with a long, upwardly curved beak. Would suit a delicate, black and white breed of dog perhaps.

Avoid Eye Contact:

Avoid(s) The Issue:

Avoidable Delay:

Avoiding Trouble:

Avowed Intent:

admitted aim or purpose. The phrase comes from a hymn called "He Who Would Valiant Be". The line goes "His first avowed intent: to be a pilgrim".

Avowed Sceptic:

Away From Home:

Away In A Manger:

a Christmas carol (that is, a hymn sung at Christmas time) which is sung throughout the English-speaking world. Best suited to a dog born in the Christmas period, or else to one born literally in an animal's feeding trough, which is what a manger is (from the French "manger", "to eat"). It is where Christ is traditionally believed to have been laid to sleep after his birth.

Away In A Manger:

Away Match:

for football fans (God help them!). Football matches (and indeed matches of many team sports) can be either "home matches" or "home games", where the team play on their home pitch; or "away matches" or "away games", where a team goes to a match played on the pitch of its adversary.

Away On Business:


something that creates ("inspires") a feeling of awe ("wonder") in the on-looker. You could have an awe-inspiring sunset; a Best in Show at Cruft's would always be an awe-inspiring dog, though so might the hound of the Baskervilles, as awe sometimes implies wonder tinged with fear.


full of awe, great surprise tinged with trepidation or uncertainty

Awkward Elegance:

Awkward Question:

questions that are difficult or embarrassing to answer, often asked by young children. Might I recommend one of the funniest comedy series ever, "Outnumbered" in which well-meaning parents are totally outmanoeuvred by their three articulate children. "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings........."

Awkward Squad:

Axe To Grind:

if you have an axe to grind, you have your own particular views on a matter, even a vested interest which makes you biassed or partial in your opinion; not disinterested, prejuduced.


an axiom is a self-evident or generally recognised truth; axiomatic is the adjective.


a trans-Caucasian republic whose people are closely connected to the Iranians. A place I would love to visit one day, together with Armenian and Gerogia. This has often been a troubled part of the world but I gather that the inhabitants of all three trans-Caucasian republics are very hospitable.


Azure Blue:

tautological really since "azure" means blue (cf. "azzurro" in Italian and "azul" in Spanish). I particularly associate the word with the beautiful deep blue of Mediterranean waters but that may just be me. Perhaps best used for dogs with a blue coat.


Babbling Brook:

a rural image: a brook is a small stream and babble is the noise produced by water flowing over pebbles or small stones.

Baby Boomer:

a member of the immediate post-war generation, when a sudden rise in the population resulted from the mass demobilisation of troops at the end of the Second World War. Some divide baby boomers into two groups those born from 1945 to 1955, more individualistic yet idealistic and those born from 1956 to 1964, who are more suspicious of "officialdom" in all its aspects and who tend to be less positive in outlook.

Baby Face:


Babylon Zoo:

highly inventive name used by a short-lived rock group in the 1990s. Rocketed to number one in the charts in the UK with an angst-ridden ditty "Spaceman". One of the better singles of a generally awful decade in rock/pop.

Bachelor of Arts:

the first and lowest degree given by British universities. Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy are other higher degrees awarded after the B.A. Although an unmarried man is a bachelor, women too can be bachelors of arts.

Back And Forth:

to walk back and forth (or backwards and forwards) is to pace up and down, implying that the doer of the action is thinking about something or waiting for someone and is in either case worried, nervous or otherwise emotionally engaged.

Back From The Dead:

applied to someone who has not been seen around for quite a while: e.g. "Hello Sam, you must be back from the dead. I haven't seen you for simply ages".

Back Home:

Back In Business:

Back In Favour:

Back In Time:

"to go back in time" is to engage in time travel, very much in the realm of science fiction. Alernatively, if you get back in time, you arrive more or less at a time previously agreed to. (Also possible: "to arrive back on time" which implies a greater degree of punctuality).

Back Of Beyond:

in the middle of nowhere, a place that is remote and uncivilised "He lives in the back of beyond. Or is it Luxembourg?" for example.

Back Off Boogaloo:

huge hit by Ringo Starr in the 1970s after the Beatles broke up. The boogaloo is apparently a genre of Latin American music and bacame popular in the USA in the 1960s. "Back off" means you want someone to leave you alone and stop pressuring you.

Back On Track:

Back To Basics:

return to the basic (and by implication most important) things of life. Has become a bit of a political cliché, with particularly right-wing politicians advocating the need to "get back to basics". Ho-hum!

Back To Black:

Back To Business:

Back To Front:

when you put on a garment the wrong way round, with the front at the back and vice versa. Usually the sort of thing you do when you get dressed in the dark or in a hurry.

Back To My Roots:

Back To Nature:

what trendy middle-class people like to do, whether it is moving to the countryside (look at the popularity of the BBC's "Escape To The Country" programme), growing your own vegetables or buying only locally-grown produce. Nothing wrong with trying to reduce your carbon footprint, though those who have all the zeal of converts to a new religion are more likely to turn others off than win them over.

Back To Reality:

said in a rather whistful or regretful tone by people who are at the end of a pleasant experience, such as their return form an enjoyable, relaxing holiday. "It was so great in Ibiza last week but I have to be in the office tomorrow. Oh well, never mind - back to reality, I suppose."

Back To Square One:

back to the start, starting again from scratch. Perhaps from board games where the board is often divided up into squares (e.g. snakes and ladders).

Back To The Brick:

Back To The Future:

Back To The Land:

Back To The Start:

similar in meaning to "back to square one".

Back To Zero:

back to the start or back to square one.

Back With A Bang:


Back-Seat Driver:

we've all had them in the back of our cars at some time in our lives, offering unbidden and often censorious advice on driving. Perhaps we have even done it ouselves. My mental image of the most irritating back-seat driver is that of Hyacinth Bucket(pronounced "bouquet") delivering a barage of unsolicited advice on driving to her henpecked spouse, Richard, in the BBC's priceless comedy series "Keeping Up Appearances".



a member of the House of Commons in the British Parliament who is one of the "rank and file" of MPs, who do not hold any ministerial office. An ordinary MP of non-ministerial rank. He/she sits on the benches at the back of the chamber: the more important your position, the closer you move to the frontbenches. The word "frontbencher" must exist I suppose but it is encountered a lot less often than "backbencher".

Background Music:

the sort of music you may hear (or half-hear) in a restaurant, bookshop, dentist's or doctor's waiting-room. In supermarkets the quality of the music is often so ghastly that it is called "muzak" (a rather ugly form of "music"). However, not all background music is muzak: in one of my favourite café/restaurants in Waterloo, the background music often consists of Bach's keyboard compositions, which as far as I am concerned is a way of taking me to seventh heaven while imbibing exquisite coffee and the occasional croissant - yes, what an unashamed hedonist I am, to be sure!

Background Sound:


Backseat Driver:

Backtracks/ Backtracking:

Bad Grammar:

the English language is England's greatest legacy to the world bar none, yet how many people use it properly? I'm not just talking about people who say "I ain't got none." I would include those who needlessly split their infinitives (there are times when this cannot be avoided but let's not do it systematically), use a plural verb after the word "none" or say "sat on the grass" or "stood in the rain". Not to mention people who scatter malapropisms throughout their conversations (though that is not strictly speaking bad grammar). I spent years of my life teaching non-native speakers to take care when speaking and writing English. If they can respect and love our language, we native speakers have no excuse for sloppiness. And yes, I do have a life and get out often - neither of which activities have prevented me from learning to love and use properly my own language. Treat it with respect and it will serve you well in turn.

Bad To Me:

one of the best early Beatles' songs, composed by John Lennon. Reached Number 1 in the British charts in a version by Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas in 1963. At the time, they were one of the most popular pop groups around and had three number ones ("Do You Want To Know A Secret" and "Little Children" in 1963 and 1964). All by the way were composed by Lennon-McCartney.

Badge Of Honour:

Bag And Baggage:

leaving nothing behind, to leave a place leaving nothing to indicate you had ever been there. A military expression in origin: "They vacated the flat bag and baggage - they removed the light bulbs, the curtains, even the taps from the bath!"


a long, narrow loaf from France and eaten everywhere every day. In England, even during my childhood, it was possible to buy a "French loaf" which was long and relatively thin, but tasted nothing like as delicious as a real French baguette. Have you noticed how dreadful what passes for a croissant is in Britain compared with a real French croissant? As a dog's name, baguette would most suit a mid to light brown dog, maybe with a rough coat. Don't forget the "u" after the "g", which would alter the pronunciation quite radically in French.


Baker Street:

a street in London, made famous by its most illustrious denizen, Sherlock Holmes. Also a gigantic hit in the 1970s for Scotsman Gerry Rafferty and is one of my favourite singles of all time.

Baker's Dozen:

a dozen is twelve (from the French "douzaine" "twelve or so" , from "douze", "twelve"). However a baker's dozen is thirteen and derives from the ancient custom of bakers' adding one extra item if you bought twelve of them. It was a matter of "Buy twelve, get one free." Of course, families were larger in those days, more mouths to feed. Regrettably in my opinion, the custom has disappeared in this day and age.


Balance Of Power:

a political term with three rather distinct meanings: - in international politics, ensuring parity among competing states so that none is stronger than the others; - in domestic politics, a small political party which, in the case of a hung parliament, can enter into a coalition with a bigger party to form a government. It decides basically the political complexion of the next government and therefore holds the balance of power; - in the political theory of federalism, the distribution of power between the federal level and constituent state level (i.e. who does what at which level of government, as in the political system that exists in the USA or Germany).

Balance Of Power:

Balanced Blend:

to blend is to mix together carefully and with skill. Therefore a balanced blend is a mixture whose ingredients and quantities have been put together to produce a balanced result. For a breeder, the implication is that you have taken care to produce a puppy.

Balanced Outlook:

someone whose take on life is not extreme: balanced outlook, balanced person (or dog).

Balancing Act:


a rather quaint and old-fashioned word meaning "nonsense".

Bale Of Hay:

Ball And Chain:

a punishment inflicted on convicted felons to restrict their mobility or agility and impede their ability to escape, consisting in the attachment of a large heavy ball of metal or rock via a chain to the ankles.

Ballad Singer:

a singer whose repertoire consists mostly of slow, sentimental songs.


connected with projectiles as weapons and the study of such weapons. In colloquial English, "to go ballsitic" is to get very angry very suddenly.

Ballot Paper:

the paper on which a voter indicates his vote, where he marks his cross.

Ballroom Blitz:

"blitz" comes form the German word for lightning and came into common usage in the Second World War. The expression is nonsensical but was a huge hit for the glam rock band The Sweet in the 1970s.


clamour or outcry; a noisy attempt to win customers or to gain support for a cause.

Balsamic Vinegar:

"the" ingredient for a sumptuous salad. Good old Italy to have come up with that. Try the cream of balsamic vinegar too. Same taste but thicker......

Baltic State:

Bamboozle/ Bamboozled:

Ban The Bomb:

Banana Republic:

a very disparaging way if referring to a corrupt regime from the third world, a place whose most important product is bananas and not much else.


a great name for a bitch: one of the most successful British girl bands of all time.

Band Of Gold:

apart from the obvious meaning, this was also a number-one hit in Britain for Freda Payne in 1970.

Bandying Words:

as someone who has been interested in words from every single point of view, I had to include this expression. "To bandy words" is to knock back and forth and so to exchange words with someone. It is often used disparagingly: to engage in a fruitless exchange of words.

Bang On Target:

Bang Up-To-Date

very modern, trendy, contemporary, as recent as possible.

Bangers And Mash:

sausages and mashed potatoes: one of Britain's major contributions to haute cuisine. Sausages are called "bangers" because they sizzle noisily if their skins are not pierced.

Banish Care:

Banjo Baby:

don't know why, I just like the sound of it.

Bankable Asset:

a sure success. The expression comes from the world of finance.

Banker's Bonus:

Banner Headline:

a major headline in a newspaper. Usually it is located on the front page.

Baptism Of Fire:

a very difficult first experience of something. It originated as a French military expression, meaning a soldier's first experience under fire in a battle.

Bar None:

with no exception: e.g. "The Beatles were the best rock band ever, bar none." A phrase often used in horse-racing.

Bar The Shouting:

Barbed Comment:

Bare Essentials:

the basic minimum requirements necessary.

Bare Essentials:

Bare Minimum:

same as "Bare Essentials" above: the minimum necessary requirements.

Bare Necessities:

the same as the previous two entries. Also a song from Walt Disney's film, "The Jungle Book".

Barefaced Cheek:

Barely Legal:

Barely Literate:

hardly able to read and write: thus on a par with 90% of young people these days (and not only in Britain either).

Bargain Hunter:

Bargaining Chip:

Barking Mad:

"barking" mad implies that someone is so mad they bark like a dog. Not very complimentary but often used in humorous or ironical context.

Barking Sane:

Barley Sugar:

a traditional English boiled sweet, usually orange in colour, flavoured with barley (apparently). Ideal for a orange or perhaps even red-coloured dog.

Barley Twist:

the shape of chair-legs or columns which consist in a groove running upwards (or downwards, depending on your point of view). It is famously exemplified in the baldachin in St Peter's, Rome. It can also mean the sweet barley sugar (see previous entry) which is often twisted into this particular shape.

Barley Water:

a refeshing cordial consumed in summer, especially with lemon.

Baroque Concerto:

Baroque Music:

in the light of the last entry, the meaning is clear but go and sample some Bach (or Handel or Vivaldi) now!

Baroque Style:

composed or designed in the baroque manner. See previous entries.


a beautiful artisitic style in music, painting, architecture and so on. No amount of description can replace actually seeing or listening to the baroque style so do that now. Any excuse is valid. Johann Sebastian Bach is the supreme exemplar of baroque music and my favourite composer.

Barrel Of Laughs:

a colloquial expression describing somebody who constantly makes other people laugh and enjoys laughing himself. "Anne is a real barrel of laughs. She has a real knack for telling jokes."

Baseless Rumours:

unsubstantiated gossip, untrue but detrimental stories about someone or something.

Basic Agreement:

Fundamental consensus, the framework for agreement which can be fleshed out later.

Basic Assumption:

the premise on which something is based.

Basic Assumption:

Basic Concept:

the initial idea on which something is based.

Basic English/ French/Italian/ German/Latin, etc.

Basic Essentials:

see "Bare Essentials".

Basic Etiquette:

Basic Instinct:

described as a "film noir erotic thriller", this film, starring Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas, was profoundly disturbing though very skilfully put together. It belongs to a category of films which, while I acknowledge their quality, I would have preferred not to see, such as "Seven" and "Silence of the Lambs".

Basic Necessity:

the fundamental requirement needed before something can work.

Basic Premise:

the fundamental assumption on which a theory is based. No how flawless subsequent reasoning may be, if the premise of a philosophical theory is false, the whole exercise is futile. So the speculation about how many angels can dance on a pin head is futile because the basic premise is that angels exist. I am not saying they don't but it has not been proved, indeed cannot scientifically be proved.

Basic Principle:

the principle from which other truths can be deduced or asserted. Basics, fundamentals

Basic Technique:

the technique on which all subsequent techniques are based.

Basic Vocabulary:

Basking In Glory:

to bask means to expose onself to pleasant warmth: "Look at those lizards basking in the sun". By extnesion it can mean to luxuriate in anything pleasant, like basking in glory (one's own or somebody else's).

Basks In The Light:

Basks In The Sun:

Bass Clef:

the sign which in musical notation shows the notes to be played by the left hand. It is shown underneath the notation for the notes to be played by the right hand, the treble clef (see "Treble Clef"). The word "clef", which is quite specific in English, means simply "key" in French (alternative spelling in French: "clé" - feminine).

Bass Guitar:

Bats In The Belfry:

a rather quaint way of suggesting that someone is not quite normal in the head. "Be careful of him. He's got bats in the belfry". "Belfry" is the part of a church where the bells are housed. Not to be confused with a "bell-tower" which is a separate construction. Do you really wish to impugn the sanity of your dog? On the other hand, the expression is rather picturesque.

Battle Royal:

a fight involving many sides or contestants: a long and bitterly fought battle (literal and metaphorical)

Bawdy Humour:

Baying At The Moon:

Baying For Blood:


a should-held weeapon used for firing rockets over short distances against tanks.

Be Alert:

fairly clear in meaning. There wais a series of graffiti which has been recorded and is rather amusing: "Be alert!" "No, be aloof!" "What's wrong with us lerts?" Perhaps it is just British humour but that normally makes most people laugh.

Be All And End All:

similar in meaning to "Alpha And Omega". It means everything. "Frank has a very high opinion of himelf. He thinks he is the be all and end all in this office".

Be Aloof:

"Aloof" is an adjective meaning self-isolating, distant, remote. See "Be Alert".

Be Aware:

fairly obvious what this means: take a broader view and keep yourself informed.

Be Constructive:

be positive in your criticism. Criticism can be constructive or destructive, the former being the more useful.

Be Extra Careful:

Be Fruitful:

a useful wish-fulfilment name for a stud dog or brood bitch.

Be Gentle With Me:

the way any well-meaning person shouold be with another, and with his dog too.

Be Impartial:

Be Just Be True:

another exhortation to lead an upright life. In theory perhaps there ought to be a comma after "Just". By the way, "true" does not mean "consistent with reality, not false" but "faithful", in its original, Germanic sense. "Just" here means "fair", "proper" "due", in accordance with "justice", from which the word is derived.

Be Logical:

a forlorn hope with dogs but never mind - they are worth their weight in gold in other ways. Logic and reasoning are really the preserve of human beings (or some of us at least).

Be My Fantasy

Be My Guest:

when someone offers to do something and you acquiesce or even encourage them to do so, you would use this expression. A: "There's someone ringing the door bell. Shall I go and see who it is?" B: "Be my guest. Please do."

Be My Guide:

Be Of Good Cheer:

an old-fashioned or literary way of saying: "Don't worry, be happy". Sounds vaguely Biblical, the sort of thing an angel would say to a virgin before announcing to her that she was pregnant.

Be Optimistic:

the best advice anyone can give. Of course it is quite another matter always to look on the bright side, no matter how we try.

Be Positive:

similar in meaning to the previous entry.

Be Prepared:

the motto of any scout worth the name. A good general injuction in life moreover.

Be Provident:

plan ahead; think ahead; provide now for the adversities the future might bring.

Be Quiet:

if I had a euro for every time I have shouted this to my dogs in sheer desperation during a cacophonic display of canine lung power, I would be a rich man. Similarly for children or politicians.

Be Reasonable:

Be Thankful:

Be That As It May:

nevertheless; whatever the merits of the case. It is used by a speaker who, while accepting that what you say may have some truth, it does not change your opinion or affect the real situation.

Be Upstanding:

the words a toastmaster at a formal banquet or dinner will utter before proposing a toast, in Britain invariably to the Queen. It simply means "Stand up".

Be Your Own Boss:

don't let others tell you what to do - think and act for yourself. It may also me literally, become self-employed - set up your own business. In a canine context, giving such a name to a dog may be rather subversive.

Be Yourself:

act naturally, do as you think; don't let others tell you what to do or how to behave. Be true to yourself. Not to be confused with "Know Yourself (Thyself)" a piece of ancient Greek thinking going back to Socrates and other greek sources. "Be yourself" exhorts us to be spontaneous and natural: "Know yourself" requires greater commitment to examine ourselves and our character in full and draw conclusions from the analysis.

Beach Breakwater:

a breakwater is a barrier or wood, stone or concrete designed to lessen the erosive effect of the sea on the shore, to protect beaches or harbours and at seaside resorts to stop sand being washed away.


somebody who "combs" a beach, looking for valuable or interesting things which have ended up being deposited on a beach. Such flotsam and jetsam can be quite valuable. A dog could easily accompany his master on such beachcoming activities.

Beam Me Up (Scotty):

a well-known quote from the famous sixties cult series, "Star Trek". It has become so famous that "Scotty" (which is also the nickname of the Scottish Terrier) can be omitted. Basically it was an order which the captain of the Starship "Enterprise" would deliver to his engineer, Mr Scott, in order to be teleported up from the suface of a planet back into the "Enterprise".

Beaming Smile:

a very broad smile. Some breeds of dog smile when they are being emotional or doing something they are reluctant to do. Some humans foolishly interpret such a display of the teeth as showing aggression despite the fact that the dog in question is wagging its tail and not growling. Sussex spaniels and pharaoh hounds are past masters of the canine smile.

Bean Counter:

slang for an accountant.


originally, a dinner offered by an employer to his employees and so by extension, any party, merriment, jollification or spree. Can also be a workers' outing to the seaside. We all know what "beans" means so any dog with flatulent proclivities might receive this name if he has a breeder with a sense of humour.

Bear Bore Borne:

Bear Left:

Bear No Grudges:

Bearing Gifts:

Bearing The Brunt:

Bears Fruit:

apart from the literal meaning of a plant that produces fruit, the expression "to bear fruit" means to produce something desirable or useful. If your plans bear fruit, they come to fruition, they are realised, they become reality.

Bears Witness:

"to bear witness" is to give concrete evidence of, to testify to, to proove: to give evidence in a court of law

Beat Generation:

the generation of American writers who came to prominence in the post-war period, particularly the 1950s. They include Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs. They influenced and in turn were influenced by the "beatnik" movement which later gave rise to the "hippies" of the following decade. They advocated drug use, sexual experimentation and an interest in Eastern religions and mysticism.

Beat The Clock:

an American game show (later exported overseas, including Britain) where contestants were given tasks to perform in one minute, thus they had to complete their tasks against the clock. Perhaps apt for a dog that is always in a rush.

Beat The System:


a very literary or poetic synonym for beautiful, especially visually beautiful.


there are eight beatitudes given by Christ in his Sermon on the Mount. They all begin with "Blessed are ..." and the word derives form the Latin word for "blessed" ("beatus"). St Augustine referred to the Beatitudes as the ideal for Christian life.


everyone around in sixties Britian was familiar with this term: it means simply a song or a singer that replaced the Beatles at the top of the singles chart. Since the Beatles had seventeen uncontested number ones and two contested ones, there were a large number of Beatle-crushers around in the sixties. Only three Beatles' singles definitely did not reach the top of the hit parade.

Beatles Fan:

of which I am an example of millions throughout the world. And if you have not descovered the Fab Four, do so now: you would never regret it.

Beats A Hasty Exit:

"to beat a hasty exit" is to leave a place quickly because there is danger or because what is going on there is unpleasant or deadly dull. The expression "to beat a hasty retreat" also exists.

Beats A Retreat:

Beats The Record:

Beauteous Soul:

a beautiful soul.

Beautiful Dream:


Beautiful Game:

used with particular reference to football. Personally I would rather watch paint dry, but if that is how people like to spend their time, so be it. If you play footbal, at least it keeps you fit. As a spectator sport, it would drive me round the bend. I was once dragged along to a football match between Charlton Athletic and a Welsh team by my father in an ill-advised attempt to elicit some interest in me. It merely turned me even more against football and I ended up reeading a book, which my dad said had embarrassed him. Great book, mind-numbing game.

Beautiful Mind:

a 2001 film, about a mathematical genius who has hallucinations. The idea of having a beautiful mind is interesting and even attractive. But mathematics? Do me a favour!


Beck And Call:

"to be at someone's beck and call" is to serve someone's every desire, to pander to their whims, to be entirely at someone's diposal, especially unwillingly.

Beckoning Hand:

a hand that summons someone to it: figuratively, it means an enticing prospect. "To beckon" is to summon forward with a gesture (usually of the hand) or to entice. Examples: "After winning the lottery, they found that a millionaire's lifestyle was beckoning (to) them.//"With his hand, the king beckoned them to approach his throne."

Becomes A Byword:

Bed And Board:

Bed And Breakfast:

a resonably cheap and very British form of accommodation. You sleep for the night and are provided with breakfast the following morning. However you are expected to leave the house after breakfast and not to come back before evening.

Bed Of Roses:

if someone's life is described as "a bed of roses", then it is one without care or problems. It implies that the person concerned is happy, rich, fulfilled and contented. It also implies that the person is cocooned from the harsh realities of life. The expression is usually "Life is not a bed of roses."


soaked to the skin, with water streaming from sopping locks, covered with water and mud. Best used for a dog that likes water.

Bedside Manner:

Bedside Story:

a story adults, most often parents, read to children before they fall asleep. Apparently this practice is extremely important not just for parnet-child bonding but also for stimulating an interest on the child's part in reading and storytelling.

Bedside Tale:

Bedtime Beverage:

perhaps cocoa, drinking chocolate or something similar designed to promote sleep and drunk just before retiring to bed in the evening. Would suit a brown dog.......

Bedtime Story:

Bedtime Tale:


self-explanatory, a touch of bucolic idyll.


a touch of rustic nostalgia. A very important role to ensure pollination and to produce one of natures bountiful gifts, honey.

Been And Gone:

Been There:

from the expression "Been there, done that", which implies a degree of existential ennui. When a parent suggests to his adolescent offspring that they might visit Italy on holiday, the reply might be "Been there, done that", indicating not only that the teenager has already gone to Italy but also that he thinks the suggestion is boring and that the experience of Italy left something to be desired. A rather impolite riposte.


Before Daybreak:

the meaning is obvious. See also "Before Dawn".

Before Midnight:

Before The Storm:

from the expression "The calm before the storm". This means the period immediately before some major historical event. "The summer of 1914 was the calm before the storm."

Before Too Long:


Before You Go Go:

the title of a song by the pop duo Wham! which got to the number one position in both Britain and the USA (among others) in 1984. Fantastic and very happy song. The repetition of "go" is explicable as poetic licence.




of unclear mind, whoozy, tipsy, confused, scatterbrain.


confused, especially as a result of alcohol or drugs.

Beggars Belief:

is almost unbelievable. "The latest policy being pursued by the government simply beggars belief."

Beggars' Banquet:

a highly successful album released by the Rolling Stones in 1968.

Beginner's Luck:

Beginning Anew:

Begins Again:

Begins At Calais:

part of an expression which shows little Englander nationalism at its worst: "Foreigners begin at Calais" Appalling!

Begins At Calais:

Begins At Home:

from the expression "Charity begins at home", which is generally trotted out as an excuse for selfishness, thinking mostly about number one (ie. oneself).

Begrudging Praise:

Begs The Question:

"This begs the question that the French Revolution was inevitable". This ought to mean only that the premise "the French Revolution was inevitable" is taken as a given, is not questioned and so all the subsequent argumentation is based on the reality of that assumption. However it is often erroneously used to mean "This prompts the question: was the French Revolution inevitable". So be warned!

Begs To Differ:

"I beg to differ" means "I disagree". The expression means literally: "I request permission to disagree".


very attractive, alluring: "She's very beguiling", "It was a beguiling prospect." Note the the "u" is not pronounced.

Behind Bars:

in prison, incarcerated.

Behind The Façade:

looking deeper than mere appearances.

Behind The Mask:

the reality behind the show.

Behind The Scenes:

in the background, not visible to the public, what goes on far from public view. A theatrical expression, what happens in the wings, not on the stage itself.


tardy, late; remiss in fulfilling an obligation. For a dog that is slow or reluctant to respond.

Behold Elegance:


a grandiloquent expression meaning "Look!". The English equivalent of the French "Voilà!" or Italian "Ecco!" but a lot less used because it is really rather literary or theatrical.

Being As One:

Being Together:

Belgian Charmer:

Belgium gets a bad press in the UK and this is utterly unjustified. It is a great place to live, if a tad bureaucratic. I have met many charming Belgians, hence this suggestion.

Belief In Destiny:

Belief System:

a religious or philosophical system by which a person or a culture abides and lives.

Believe It Or Not:

meaning: "Although you may find it difficult to believe" or even "actually" or "in fact". A very commonly used idiom in British English.

Believe You Me:

an emphatic way of saying "Believe me", implying that the speaker knows what he is talking about, that he speaks with experience or authority.

Belisha Beacon:

the round orange lights on top of a black and white pole. They flash on and off to indicate the presence of a pedestrian crossing, especially useful at night. They are named after Leslie Hore-Belisha who, as Minister of Transport, introduced the Belisha beacon in 1934.

Bell Foundry:

Belly Laughs:

a very hearty laugh which comes from the belly. Could be used for a dog that makes you laugh uncontrollably or for a dog that is rather plump.

Below Freezing:


Belying Reality:

seeming to contradict the actual situation, running counter to reality.


Bend Sinister:

Bending The Rules:

not abiding by the rules but not strictly breaking them.

Beneath The Trees:



the organisation founded by the Benelux Customs Union (1948), which brings together Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. In many ways, it has been subsumed by the European Union, though it predates that organisation. Used as a convenient adjective for anything relating to the three countries collectively.


Benign Influence:

someone who exercises a good influence on a situation or another person.

Benign Neglect:

the policy of officially and deliberately ignoring a situation, thereby abdicating responsibility for solving the problem. Coined in the USA in the 1960s.


a denizen of Berlin. Immortalised in the speech delivered in the German capital on 26th June 1963 by the American President of thwarted promise, John F. Kennedy: "Ich bin ein Berliner" ("I am a Berliner" to show soldiarity with the inhabitants of the city which was practically under siege as the East German authorities, whose territroy surrounded Berlin, kept tightening the screws in a vain bid to force the West to abandon its outpost in West Berlin which was surrounded by a sea of Communist East German territory.

Bermuda Triangle:

an area forming a triangle in the western Atlantic between the British colony of Bermuda in the north, the island of Puerto Rico in the south and the American state of Florida in the west. It is also called more graphically the Devil's Triangle. In this area of mostmy sea, strange events and phenomena are purported to occur. However I saw a television documentary a few years ago which poo-pooed and debunked the reports of weird occurences. If you are interested in such things, a visit to Google would save me any more time on this silly subject.

Beset By Doubt:

Beside The Lake:

Beside The Point:


made stupid, in awe of, hopelessly in love with or attracted by, "David was so besotted with his new girlfriend that he gave up his job and followed her to Japan." From the French "sot" meaning "stupid".

Best Is Yet To Come:

or rather, the best is yet to come. The meaning is clear.

Best Alternative:

Best Before:

Best Behaviour:

to be on your best behaviour is to conduct yourself impeccably, to make no gaffes, mistakes, rude or spiteful remarks, etc. Often children are urged to be on their best behaviour when grandma and grandad come to visit. It seldom works.... Would suit a well-behaved dog.

Best By Far:

Best Foot Forward:

when you are setting out to perform some irksome task, you may to raise your spirits or those of your companions say "Well, here goes: best foot forward." In theory, in accordance with the rules of English grammar, it should be "Better foot forward" because most people only have two feet.

Best Is Yet To Come:

the meaning is clear, but you may prefer to put "The" in front of "Best".

Best Kept Secret:

again, the meaning is clear.

Best Laid Scheme:

from the poem by Robert Burns, Scotlands premier dialect poet, "To A Mouse". The original script has: "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley" ( translstion: The most carefully planned schemes of mice and men often go wrong/ awry) I have taken the liberty of making the noun singular.

Best Made Better:

Best Money Can Buy:

or more usually, "the best money can buy": often hyperbolically over-used especially in sales patter.

Best Of All:

Best Of British:

short for "the best of British luck." It might be advisable to use this name for a British breed.

Best Of Luck:

Best Of The Bunch:

Best Regards:

the way an informal letter is ended in English. (More formally it would be "Yours sincerely" (q.v.) or "Yours faithfully" (q.v.)). I believe Americans say "Yours truly" though I do not know in which context.

Best To Invest:

Best Wishes:

a more informal way of ending a letter than "Yours sincerely/faithfully".


a book, usually a paperback, which sells very well, at least for a while.

Bet My Bottom Euro:

Better And Better:

improving all the time, e.g. in the expression "It's getting better all the time" contained in a Beatles' song, "Getting Better".

Better Believe It:

short for "You'd better believe it" when the person saying the phrase wan ts or confirm something emphatically: "Are you happy darling, now that we are engaged to be married?" "You'd better believe it!"

Better Jaw Jaw:

Better Late:

any Englishman worth his salt will have heard of the expression: "Better late than never."

Better Not Bet:

it is better/ would be better not to bet.

Better Out Than In:

an expression which, if used too randomly, will send boys (of all ages) into gales of smutty laughter.

Better Red:

Better Still

Better Than Cure:

Better Than Cure:

Between Jobs:

a euphemistic way of saying you are unemployed: "I'm between jobs at the moment."

Between The Lines:

the full expression is "reading between the lines" and it refers to what can be inferred from a letter, rather than what is actually stated. "The letter is not totally negative but reading between the lines, I don't think you've gor the job."

Between You And Me:

usually a preamble to a revelation, a confidence, etc. How it irritates me when I hear "Between you and I". All pronouns take the object pronoun after prepositions, innit?


hexed, under the spell of a witch, the object of sorcery or witchcraft. Can be used figuratively when someone is so obsessed by something that he is incapable of rational action: "Since Martin met Mandy he seems to be living in another world and is neglecting everything else in his life. It's as if he were bewitched."

Beyond (Any) Doubt:

when there is no room for doubt, when something is obvious and clear-cut.

Beyond (Mere) Words:

Beyond Belief:

unbelievable, incredible, surpassing belief.

Beyond Borders:

quite obvious really, transcending limits, including of course the literal limits of one's country. Long live internationalism..

Beyond Compare:

Beyond Faith:

when faith is no longer necessary.

Beyond Frontiers:

same as "Beyond Borders".

Beyond Infinity:

another paradox. In theory and by logic, beyond infinity cannot exist since infinity encompasses all. If there is somewhere wher infinity cannot go, it isn't infinity. Gettit? Also this reminds le of the final phase of Stanley Kubrick's 1967 masterpiece of the cinema, "2001 A Space Odyssey": "To Jupiter and beyond the infinite". We shall not see his like again...

Beyond Measure:

without any limits, exaggeratedly, inordinately

Beyond My Means:

Beyond Our Ken:

if something is beyond our ken, it passes beyond our logic or comprehension. "Ken" means knowledge. Also the name of a comedy series on the BBC's Home Service (now Radio 4), starring the comedian Kenneth Horne and which was the forerunner of the groundbreaking series of the 1960s "Round The Horne". Unfortunately, in my opinion, it was not as outrageous or as funny as its successor.

Beyond Our Shores:

abroad, overseas. Would suit a dog that has been imported from another country.

Beyond Price:

Priceless, inestimably valuable.

Beyond Question:

Beyond Range:

Beyond Reason:

instinctive; unreasonable; unreasoning.

Beyond Riches:

Beyond The Clouds:

self-explanatory, but evocative (like the Land of Oz).

Beyond The Fringe:

a British comedy stage review which helped to revolutionise British comedy. It was written and perfomed by Dudley Moore, Peter Cook, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller. It contained elements of political and social satire (even after the Second World War, British humour had continued to be deferential and tame, with a few honourable exceptions), which led to the revolutionary "That Was The Week That Was" which was often savagely critical of the Establishment and social mores; coupled with the anarchic and surreal humour subsequently developed so brilliantly in "Monty Python's Flying Circus". Most of those involved studied at Cambridge University and developed their talents via the Cambridge Footlights, the University's leading amateur dramatic club.

Beyond The Pale:

"The Pale" was that area of English settlement around Dublin that was directly under the authority of the English throne and government. Anything beyond it was considered (by the English) as uncivilised, unsophisticated, dangerous and basically off limits. So nowadays if something is called "beyond the pale" it is unacceptable, especially in connection with behaviour or beliefs.

Beyond The Stars:

self-explanatory. If you want some measure of the magnificence of the universe, just look up into the night sky - what a wonderful name to give to a dog..

Beyond The State:

Beyond Time:

imagine being able to go beyond the constraints of time. Only Dr Who and the time lords are able to do so and of course they do not really exist. I gather that there is in some eastern religions the concept of the eternal present. Or is it quantum physics? Goes way beyond my intellect but ça fait rêver.

Beyond Words:

imlies that words alone are inadequate to express a reality or situation. Being in move for example goes beyond words since the emotion is generally too sublime or difficult to summarise or describe in words. The same could also be said of some diabolical event such as the genocide in Rwanda or the nazi extermination camps. Anyway, let's be positive and stick to the optimistic sense.

Bib And Tucker:

from the expression "best bib and tucker", meaning your best clothes. Originally, both bibs and tuckers were items of women's clothing.

Bible Belt:

Biblical Epic:

the sort of film which deals with the Bible or various episodes in the Bible. Cecil B. De Mille was the American film director who specialised in this sort of extravaganza, not always to critical acclaim.

Biblical Sense:

a slightly ribald connotation here. When reading the Bible, you may come across the expression "And he knew her". "To know" in modern English means "to be acquainted with" of course, but in the early modern period (that is, in Elizabethan and Jacobean English), the word to know wlso meant "to have sexual relations with". Something of this sense of "to know" is retained in the legal expression "carnal knowledge". Therefore, if, especially for humourous effect, after using the word "know" in a sentence, you add "though not in the Biblical sense", you can make an entirely innocent phrase into something salacious. So the apparently innocuous conversation: "Do you know Sally" "Yes I do, but not in the Biblical sense, eh, Sally?" you turn the original question into a matter of smutty innuendo. Geddit?


someone who loves books and by extension, reading.

Bid For Freedom:

Bid For Stardom:

Biding My Time:

"to bide one's time" is to wait to do something until a propitious moment.Not to be confused with "to take one's time", which means the action is being taken, but in a leisurely or slow way.

Bids Farewell:

the sense is clear but you might reserve this name for a puppy from your last litter if you decide that you are simply getting too old for this breeding lark any more and are preparing to throw in the towel.

Big Assumption:

Big Bang Theory:

there must be any number of scientific theories about the origins of the universe, all requiring some sort of "deus ex machina" to have started the whole thing off in the first place. To many, this is rather uncomfortable. The theory which has most credence at the present is the Big Bang Theory which was first proposed by a Belgian priest, Geroges Lemaître in an article published in 1927. Lemaître posits that the universe suddenly came into existence through a big bang (as opposed to, for example the "constant state theory" which sits ill with the obvious changes that are going on in the universe and the fact that the universe is expanding. The whole of the matter in the universe was contained in a very small initial point, the so-called "primeval atom" from which absolutely everything in the visible and detectable universe has come. Mind-boggling I call it.

Big Business:

Big Chief:

Big Eater:

Big Game Hunter:

Big In Japan:

Big Spender:

someone who spends a lot of money. The context is sometimes ironic, because the person referred to as a "big spender" may in fact be mean and tight-fisted. It is also the name of a song from the musical "Sweet Charity". Usually male, but could be either male or female.

Big Tease:

someone who enjoys teasing others; an expression often used by teenage girls to describe teenage boys but could equally be used by boys to describe girls.

Big Time:

on a grand or big scale. "He's a criminal and I mean big time: he's a New York mafia boss." "He doesn't just dabble in stocks and shares; he's a big-time speculator in Wall Street."

Big Yellow Taxi:

a song composed and first recorded in 1970 by Joni Mitchell. It is basically a song with a message about the environment and its degradation by people wanting to make money. Here we are forty years later and the situation, far from getting better, has declined massively, despite many attempts to improve the environment. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, I suppose. Anyway, if you don't kn,ow it, the song is worth checking out. Perhaps best suited to a large yellow dog, lab or similar.

Bigger And Better:

self-explanatory and would denote an optimistic breeder. All is relative: you would not want your breed to exceed the standard height. Bigger is not always better. No one would wish to see packs of giant chihuahuas marauding around the countryside. Now there's a surreal image.

Bigger Fish To Fry

Bigger Than Most:

Billet Doux:

a French expression meaning "love-letter". Unfortunately, the English, showing their customary incompetence at other languages, pronounce the expression "billy-doo". Aagh!

Billowing Clouds:

"to billow" is to plump out like sails when they are inflated with air. Basically it refers to plump, fluffy white clouds in the sky. Most suited to a white (and possibly round) dog.

Billowing Clouds:

Billowing Sails:

describes sails, as on a yacht, being puffed out by the wind. See also previous entry.

Binding Oath:

an solemn undertaking where the swearer is constrained to abide by his promise. An oath in English is not just a slomen promise to do something, it is also a "swear word", a taboo word, often obscene of a sexual or scatological nature, which may offend or shock. Bu tin this expression, it means a solemn often public undertaking, often made binding by a reference to God or a sacred book. In courts of law, people used to swear "to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God" and place their hands on the Bible to make the oath binding.

Binding Promise:

Binding Vow:



friendly to the environment; environmentally aware; eco-friendly.


if you, like me, are constantly troubled by reports that yet another species of animal, insect, butterfly, tree or plant has been declared extinct, then you can do your bit to bring this vexed issue to the attention of dog people by giving the name of " Biodiversity" to your dog. It means the variety of separate species that exist in the world. People have asked me why I have the chosen the breeds I have. I reply that I am doing my bit to promote rare breeds or in the case of the shar-pei, rare colours. Extinction is forever. Think. Help.


a wood full of birch trees.

Bird On The Wing:

a bird in flight - often one of the most beautiful sights one can see.

Bird's-Eye View:


Birds And Bees:

a euphemistic way of referring to the facts of life, the way in which babies are produced. Isn't nature wonderful?

Birds Of A Feather:

part of the proverb "Birds of a feather flock together". It means that people which have certain interests (in both senses of the world) in common, they are attracted to one another. In French, the expression is very succinct: "Qui se ressemblent, se rassemblent."


one of the most beautiful and uplifting of nature's phenomena.


Birth Of A New Age:

a cliché often found in history books.

Birthday Bash:

Birthday Present:

in Britain, it is customary to give a gift to someone on their birthday. However I do not approve of giving animals as presents and am very wary when, as a breeder, I am approached by parents who announce that they want to give their child a puppy as a birthday present.

Birthday Suit:

a euphemism for being naked. The full expression is "to be in one's birthday suit". A synonymous epxression is "to be in the altogether".

Biscuit Barrel:

the container in which biscuits are kept. Rather posh.


Bit By Bit:

gradually, piece by piece.

Bites The Bullet:

to go ahead with an unpleasant decision or action. It is not nice but it has to be done and so let's bite the bullet and get on with it.

Biting Cold:

Biting Satire:

satire that bites, that is caustic, unpleasant, that strikes deeply.

Bits And Bobs:

small, remnant articles, relatively unremarkable in themselves. Similar to "odds and ends" or "bits and pieces".

Bits And Pieces:

similar in meaning to the previous entry: small, unremarkable objects. Also a major hit in 1964 for the Dave Clark Five (though its predecessor "Glad All Over" was their best single.

Bitter Pill:



something which is bitter and sweet at the same time. Not only used for taste sensations but also figuratively: a bittersweet film would be one which made you laugh and cry or happy and sad in turns or even at the same time.

Bizarre Antics:

Bizarre Bazaar:

silly idea really but I like its sound and I like the look of the phrase when written down.

Bizarre Belief:

a very strange belief:

Bizarre But True:

very strange but true.

Black And Blue:

Black And Proud:

phrase from black consciousness.

Black As Coal:

a sommon simile in English. Could also be humorously used for a white dog!

Black As Ink:

another common English simile. Again could be used ironically for a white dog.

Black As Jet:

jet is a form of coal and was used in Victorian times as a gem for jewellery. Being very black, it matched widows' weeds in colour. The current English expression "jet black" meaning "very black" goes back to the time when jet was used in jewellery. I remember my grandmother had brooches and a necklace of jet.

Black As Night:

meaning "very black" and therefore a synonym of black as coal or black as ink (even though nowadays ink can be blue as well).

Black As Pitch:

Black As Thunder:

Black Astrakhan:

astrakhan is a wool derived from lambs bred in the region around Astrakhan in Russia. It is famous for being curly. So if you have a dog with black curly hair, this name would be ideal, such as a curly-coated retriever.

Black Cadillac

A very smart American car, the summum of opulence (accoring to some).

Black Comedy:

a comedy about a subject which might be controversial of about a subject some people would prefer to avoid, like death, disease, drug abuse, cannibalism, insanity, mental or physical handicap and so on. They can be quirky and very funny or sometimes go over the top.

Black Forest:

the Schwarzwald in south-west Germany, one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

Black Humour:

Black Is Black:

a huge hit for a Spanish-German group Los Bravos in 1966. The song was composed by two Englishmen.

Black Lagoon:

Black Light:

a contradiction in terms: it grabs your attention and makes you think. Or not..

Black Limousine:

similar in its associations with "black cadillac" a car symbolic of luxury.

Black Market:

selling goods illegally; not just illegal substances, like drugs, but for example, goods whose sale is restricted during wartime, e.g. "He sells nylons on the black market." A person who engages in such activities is called a "black-marketeer". A synonym would be a "profiteer". Best for dogs which are black I suppose.

Black Mischief:

a novel by Evelyn Waugh, who, whatever his political beliefs, was a consummate writer and novelist. best for a black mischievous dog.

Black Pearl:

a very rare phenomenon, since pearls are usually white, well, pearly white. Use for black dogs or white ones if you want to seem humorous.

Black Pepper:

obvious really. Perhaps to be used for a black dog with a peppery character.

Black Power:

the Black Power movement in the USA has helped to ensure better respect for human rights. But the moneker could also be given to a powerfully built dog which is black in colour.

Black Rod:

The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod is a dignitary of the House of Lords, the upper chamber of the British Parliament in Westminster, London. During the state opening of Parliament, the Gentleman Usher goes to the House of Commons (the Lower Chamber) to summon MEPs to the House of Lords to summoin the Commons to attend the monarch in the House of Lords. Just before his arrrial at the Commons, the doors of the Commons are slammed in his face, to symbolise the independence of MEPs from the monarch. Pointless but historical and picturesque. They are eventually opened so that the usher can summon the Commons to the Lords. A bit of meaningless ceremonial, but impressive nevertheless.

Black Swan:

a species of swan that lives in Australia. Unlike most swans, this species is not white. Could be used for a black dog or ironically, for a white one.

Black Tidings:

bad news.

Black Tulip:

a very dark purple (red) variety of tulip. Apparently, there are no truly black flowers anywhere. Shame. Also a novel of swashbuckling adventure by Alexandre Dumas the Elder, which is reckoned to be his best novel, even greater than "The Three Musketeers". I must admit I have never read anything by Dumas, père or fils, but I plan to do so before I die.

Black Velvet:

velvet that is black in colour. Also the name of a song, an alcoholic drink and a few other things. Would suit a black dog admirably.

Black Vinyl:

the substance which 45 or 33 r.p.m. records used to be made of until the arrival of the compact disc. Vinyl was usually black but could be coloured too.

Black-Eyed Look:



Blackberry Way:

a hit single for the British group the Move in 1965 and apparently reached Number One in the charts. It reminds me of family blackberry-picking in the local woods when I was a child. I still love blackberry and apple pie.Mmmmmm...



blackcurrant bush belongs to the ribes family, and is closely related to the redcurrant bush. Their Latin names are ribes nigrum and ribes rubrum. The fruit of the two species also tastes very similar if not identical.The blackcurrant berry itself produces a black berry which is very healthy and often recommended for growing children. It is particularly high in vitamin C. I drink the juice more than I eat the fruit itself. Obviously blackcurant would suit a black dog and have healthy connotations as well.

Blackened White:





the illegal extortion of money from a victim by threatening to make public information about him/her which is unkown or secret yet which would be discreditable if generally known. Although this word has negative connotations, it would nevertheless be acceptable for a black dog.

Blackpool Lights:

the seaside resort of Blackpool in north-western England, Lanashire to be more specific, is famous for its illuminations, the many lights that shine during the evening and night. Not my sort of place really nor my sort of entertainment but each to his own...




a 1982 science fiction film by one of the greatest living film-directors, Ridley Scott. Has become a cult film. One of the first films to ask moral questions about artificial intelligencce.

Blame Game:

the blame game is the practice of some people to refuse to accept sole responsibility for an undesirable event and accuse or blame others.

Blameless Life:

an irreproachable existence - self-explanatory really.

Blank Ballot:

leaving your voting paper empty when voting. If you cast a blank ballot, you do not wish (or refuse)give your vote to any candidate, ususally by way of protest. Maybe if enough of us did so, our politicians would get the message.

Blank Cheque:

a cheque that is not made out to a specifically named person. Figuratively speaking, if you give somebody a blank cheque, you are giving them carte blanche, the possibility of doing exactly as they wish, but with your sanction. Note that Americans spell the word "cheque" "check": British English has simply adopted the French spelling, and quite right too.

Blank Cheque:

Blanket Ban:

Blanket Coverage:

Blarney Stone:

a block of bluestone built into the battements of Blarney Castle near Cork in Ireland. If you kiss it, you get the gift of the gab, that is you acquire great eloquence or skill at flattery. Honeyed words that the listener thinks are insincere or self-interested can be called "blarney".

Blasted Heath:

the description of the place where the three weird sisters (witches) congregate at the beginning of Shakespeare's masterpiece "Macbeth". A heath is a stretch of green open land, where grass and plants grow on what is often poor soil. Another characteristic is that it has few if any trees. Also used in the 1960s to take a swipe at the British prime minister of the time, Edward Heath. "Blasted" can be used as a euphemism for "bloody", a swearword which was considered stronger and more offensive in the sixties than now. In my opinion, Heath was a lot less unpleasant than his Tory successors.

Blaze Of Glory:

if you go out in a blaze of glory, you die a hero or amid public adulation, in a moment of splendid achievement or triumph. There is the idea of finality, that things cannot get better than this. "Having extended his realms by half and brought peace, prosperity and a golden age of culture to his people, the emperor died in a blaze of glory."

Blazing A Trail:

Blazing Fire:

Blazing Saddles:

not one of my favourite Mel Brooks films but could be used for a dog with flatulence problems. If you don't know what I mean, watch the film (but don't blame me if you find the humour puerile).

Bleak House:

one of the masterpieces of Charles Dickens, the great British novelist of the nineteenth century. It was also a heavy critique of the then very slow, inefficient and corrupt judiciary system of the time. It was his ninth novel. Worth reading but I have generally preferred Dickens's lesser known novels. I can't really say why. I still have over half of his canon still to read.

Bleak Midwinter:

the word "bleak" has several meanings: exposed, barren, windswept (of landscape); cold, raw (describing the weather); grim, lacking in warmth or kindliness, austere, depressing. "Midwinter" means in the middle (or depths) of winter. "In the Bleak Midwinter" is the name of a Christmas carol, a sing or hymn sung at Christmastime.

Bleeding Heart:

Blending In:

Bless My Soul:

an old fashioned mild expletive, denoting surprise, like "good heavens" or "goodness gracious". "Well bless my soul: this letter is from my old friend Humphrey. I haven't heard from him for years."

Bless You:

Blessed If I Know:

this expression means "I certainly don't know".

Blind Date:

a date where the two people are strangers - they have never met before. Blind dates are customarily organised either by dating agencies or friends of one or both daters. Also the name of a hilarious romantic comedy of the same name (1987), starring Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger, both in excellent form. Really worth watching.

Blind Fate:

Blinding Light:

Blithe Spirit:

"blithe" is a literary word that means "carefree" or "light-hearted". It can also mean "unconcerned" or "showing a lack of proper concern". The name of a play, a comedy of manners, by Noel Coward about a spiritualist seance. Witty if a tad dated. The title itself is taken from Shelley's poem "To a Skylark" (which starts: "Hail to thee, blithe spirit").

Bloc Vote:

a way of voting, especially in trade union ballots. It is rather complex to explain but can be used in a way which may make it unrepresentative of voters' intentions.

Block Capitals:


originally, a bomb designed to destroy extensive urban areas, such as whole blocks of buildings. Subsequently and nowadays more often used to describe a very popular film, book or pop record. The 1970s glam-rock band the Sweet had a blockbuster hit with "Block Buster" which reached number one in the charts.

Blond Highlights:

Blood From A Stone:

if something is like "trying to get blood from a stone", it means that the activity in question is a pointless one, since stones do not have blood. Wasting time and effort on a hopeless task...

Blood Relation:

a relation or member of your family bound to you by blood rather than acquired through marriage. "My mother married George after my father died but he's not a blood relation of mine."

Blood Sweat Tears:

an American rock band that began in the 1960s. It is perhaps better known as the synthesis of a wartime speech by Winston Churchill in a speech to the House of Commons after becoming prime minister in 1940. He could only promise to those who joined himin his battle with nazi Germany "blood, toil, tears and sweat".

Blotted Copybook:

if you blot (stain with ink) your copy book (or exercise book), you spoil a hitherto uinblemished record. You spoil a perfect past.

Blotting Paper:

does this exist any more? It was used to avoid making blots in a letter by drying or removing excess ink in the days of fountain pens which regrettably are seldom used these days. The inkspots left on the blotting paper might be compared to the spots on the coat of a dog such as a dalmatian.

Blow Me A Kiss:

Blow Me A Kiss:

Blows A Fuse:

apart from the obvious meaning from the world of domestic electricity supply, this is a colloquial expression for a sudden or unexpected explosion of anger.

Blows Hot And Cold:

Blows The Gaff:

"to blow the gaff" is to reveal a secret.

Blue Angel:

a German film of the silent era, notable for the performance of a young Marlene Dietrich.

Blue Belt:

a grade of proficieny in some oriental martial arts: ranking between the lowly white belt to the highest black belt, though there are other colours too.

Blue Blood:

royal blood: in the middle ages, there was a belief that royal blood was not red but blue.

Blue Blue Heart:

Blue Carnation:

I love carnations and I saw a blue one when I was a child which so impressed me that I still remember it so many years later.

Blue Danube:

the second-longest river in Europe, the Danube flows through ten countries before disgorging into the Black Sea. It is also the name of the best-known waltz of all time, composed in 1866 by Johann Strauss the Younger. This in turn was put to incredible use by Stanley Kubrik in his masterpiece of 1967, "2001, A Space Odyssey". In many other languages, the piece is called "The Beautiful Blue Danube": whatever the title, the music is unmistakable.

Blue Denim:

the material from which blue jeans are made. The story goes that it was originally woven in Genova, Italy, which in French is called "Gênes": from there to "jeans" is a mere hop. "Denim" is from the French expression "serge de Nîmes", "serge from Nîmes", . While Nîmes is in France, it is not far from Genova.

Blue Dungarees:

Blue Exterior:

Blue Haze:

Blue Heaven:

the name of various television programmes in English-speaking countries and even a novel. There was also a Fats Domino song entitled "My Blue Heaven". Suitable for a blue (that is, grey) dog.

Blue Horizon:

the name of a record label and several hotels. Also the horizon, particularly at sea, it blue.

Blue In The Face:

for a long time and with considerable physical effort: "You can argue till you're blue in the face, but you'll never convince me". Useful for a dog with a blue (i.e. grey)face or head.

Blue Jeans:

see under "Blue Denim".

Blue Joke:

a risqué joke usually involving sex. See also, "Blue Film/Movie".

Blue Lamp:

this refers to the lamp which used to hang (and still do in some parts) outside police stations in the UK and which were often blue in colour.

Blue Lavender:

an aromatic plant that grows wild in much of Europe. It is cultivated commercially in Britain (the South-West), France (Provence) and elsewhere.

Blue Light:

self-explanatory. Best for a blue (i.e. grey) dog.

Blue Meanie:

one of a race of very unpleasant, music-hating people in the Beatles' cartoon "Yellow Submarine". It seemed to me at the time that they bore a resemblance to Edward Heath, who was leader of the Conservative opposition at the time. The colour blue has always been associated with the Conservative Party.

Blue Mink:

mink is not blue or grey and so the expression mystifies me. I do not agree with using animals to clothe us anyway except in exceptional circumstances, certainly not to make a vulgar parade of personal wealth. There was a British pop group of the 1960s called Blue Mink and they had a number of big hits.

Blue Moon:

the expression "once in a blue moon" refers to an event which occurs only very rarely. In Italian, the equivalent is "una volta ogni morte di papa" ("once in every pope's death") Scientifically it refers to the second full moon which can happen (but very seldom does) in the same calendar month. It is also the title of a 1961 song by the Marcels, an American pop group. It is instantly recognisable and very catchy. One of the immortal pre-Beatles songs that would be in my top 100 singles of all time.

Blue Movie:

a film whose erotic component is the major element. Most often used as a euphemism for pornographic films.

Blue Murder:

Blue Overall(s):

Blue Oyster Cult:

a heavy metal/progressive rock band of the 1960s. I only remember one of their songs, "(Don't Fear)The Reaper", which got into the British Top 20 in 1978. Great song, enigmatic lyrics.

Blue Period:

the name describing a phase in the artistic development of Pablo Picasso, where his paintings were predominantly blue.

Blue Riband:

an expression used to describe something of great quality. Is usually written "blue ribbon" in the USA, "blue riband" elsewhere.

Blue Shark:

a species of shark.

Blue Skies Or Grey:

Blue Sky:

the normal and perhaps nicest colour for the sky to be. Again most appropriate for a blue (grey) dog.

Blue Smoke:

Blue Splendour

self-evident and best for a splendid blue dog.

Blue Streak:

the name of a British ballistic missile designed in 1955 and discontinued in 1960. Something blue moving so fast it is just a streak, a blur. Great for a fast blue dog<

Blue Suede Shoes:

this is the title of an Elvis Presley hit from 1956. The song was written and recorded in the previous year by Carl Perkins but Presley's version must be the best-known rendering.

Blue Touchpaper:

this is the blue paper on a firework which must be lit before the firework can take off. The standard instructions on fireworks in the UK is "Light blue touchpaper and retire immediately". Perfect for a blue (=grey) dog.

Blue Unicorn:

Blue Uniform:

Blue Violet:

There is an old English children's rhyme: "Roses are red, violets are blue Sugar is sweet and so are you". Of course violets are actually violet, a mauver form of purple.


quite self-explanatory: a mixture of blue and grey. Greyish blue.




a species of grass, most famously Kentucky bluegrass, which when allowed to attain its natural height of two to three feet, produces bluish grey flowerheads. There is also a Texas bluegrass. I had a much loved and much missed shar pei called Bluegrass of Tonispada ("Astrid").


Bluer Than Blue:

the meaning is clear - fine for a blue dog.

Bluff Your Way:

"to bluff your way through something" is to deceive others in order to obtain your ends. To succeed in dealing with a difficult situation by making other people believe what you say.

Blunt Instrument:

Blurred Boundary:

Blurred Image:

an image whose outline is unclear, fuzzy or unfocused. Photographs are usually blurred if the photographer moves when taking it.

Boat To Bolivia:

a wasted journey or effort: Bolivia is a landlocked country and cannot be directly reached by boat.

Bodes Well:

if something bodes well, it indicates or predicts a successful outcome. "His outstanding performance in his mock exams bodes well for the results of the real exams next summer."

Body And Mind:

Body And Soul:

totally, completely, without stinting, with total commitment. "She gave herself body and soul to the pursuit of artistic expression."

Body Beautiful:

"the body beautiful" is an intentionally literary description of the ideal body. A bodybuilder for example is always on the quest for "the body beautiful", pursuing what he (she) deems to be the perfect human physique, though the term in itself is very subjective.

Body Double:

Body Image:

Body Language:

the information which human beings send out to one another, perhaps even subconsciously, by means of body posture, gesture, facial expressions and eye movements.

Body Mind And Soul:

self explanantory. The totality of animated life on earth, though not everybody accepts the existence of a soul.

Body Talk:

perhaps similar in meaning to "body language". The expression is best known as the title of a hit single in 1981 by the British group Imagination. Quite a sensual song.

Bogus Claim:

Bogus Veracity:

Bohemian Life:

Boiling Point:


very energetic to the point of being disruptive; lacking in restraint or discipline; very exuberant, rowdy or unruly.

Bold As Brass:

overconfident, unashamed, very cheeky, with insufficient respect.

Bold Assertion:

Bold Challenge:

Bold Contrast:

a great or daring contrast

Bold Experiment:

Bold Initiative:

an initiative that required courage to take; an innovative decision.

Bold Move:

an action that is courageous.

Bold Statement:

a courageous declaration.

Bold Stranger:

a courageous stranger.

Bold Strategy:

a courageous plan or stratagem.

Bold Stroke:

a daring action.

Bold Stroke:

a daring action.

Boldly Goes:

part of the spoken preamble to the sixties' cult sci-fi classic, "Star Trek". The mission of the starship "Enterprise" (you can tell it was an American series, can't you?) was "to boldly go where no man has gone before". Note also the dreadful split infinitive (q.v.).

Bolt From The Blue:

a momentous or catastrophic event which occurs suddenly, without warning.

Bolt Upright:

sitting or standing with a very straight back: "When the teacher shouted at the pupil to pay attention, the young lad sat bolt upright and did as he was told."

Bomb Scare:



self-explanatory. A bombshell can also be a piece of catastrophic or disastrous news. "After the will had been read, the bombshell that their father had bequeathed all his money to his younger son took a while to dawn on Henry."

Bon Appétit:

what a Frenchman will wish another Frenchman before they begin their meal together. "Enjoy your meal" is probably the closest translation in English. Sometimes English people will simply use the same expression. Et pourquoi pas?

Bon Voyage:

what one Frenchman will wish another Frenchman when the latter is about to leave on a journey. "Have a safe trip/journey" is the most often expressed wish when an Englishman says goodbye to another Englishman. Again the French expression is often used in Britain without any pretentiousness. Et pourquoi pas?

Bona Fide:

Latin for "in good faith". You could not find a better name for a dog, male or female.


a remarkably rich vain of precious mineral deposit but most often used metaphorically to signify a source of great but sudden or unexpected wealth or luck.

Bonded For Life:

emotionally attached to someone else for life, especially used for animals which have the same partner throughout life - not really applicable to dogs, but there you go!

Bone And Biscuit:

Bone China:

Bonfire Night:

on the 5th of November 1605, an attempt was made to assassinate King James I and the English Parliament by blowing up a considerable number of barrels of gunpowder which had been stored in the vaults under the Houses of Parliament. One of the ringleaders was Guy Fawkes who, with his fellow conspirators, was put to death in a singularly horrible way. On the same date ever since, families in England burn an effigy of Fawkes on a bonfire and let off fireworks, presumably in jubilation for the Gunpowder Plot having been discovered before the government was sent to kingdom come! The night of the 5th of November is therefore called Bonfire Night, though it is also often called "Firework Night" or "Guy Fawkes Night" as well.

Bonne Route:

is what French people wish themselves before starting out on a long journey by road (or rail). Similar in meaning to "bon voyage" which is more general.

Bonus Buy:

Bonus Point:

used in the contact of a quiz, where a contestant might win an extra point if they answer five correct answers in a row. An additional point added to one or several other points already gained.

Boo To A Goose:

somebody who is very meek and unassuming is described as follows: "He/She wouldn't say boo to a goose". An odd expression but colourful.

Boogie Blues:

Boogie On Down:

American slang for "to enjoy onself by enthusiastic dancing to rock music". How interesting....

Boogie On Up:

logically, the opposite of "boogie on down". In fact, it is identical in meaning, apparently. How fascinating!


a dance craze from the 1950s.

Book Club:

Book Crazy:

what I am - mad about books. It's as simple as that.

Book Lover:

Book Review:



a list of books. The publishers Penguin, who are famous for their paperbacks, used to produce a booklist every month indicating their most recent publications. Now they don't so people that collect Penguin Classics find it much more difficult to keep up with what is available. Come on Penguin, think of your customers. Your website is not half as helpful as your booklist was.

Bookshop Browser:


one of my favourite haunts. I could spend whole days browsing in bookshops.


a disparaging term for somebody who constantly has their nose in a book. What's wrong with reading? It's a darn sight more useful than wasting time on computers.

Boom And Bust:

a pettern discernible in economics where periods of plenty, when everything is booming, is followed by a bust, when the ecomomy is in dire straits. We are going through a period of bust now (2010).

Boom Times:

periods of strong economic growth.



Boon Companion:

a good or close friend.

Booster Rocket:


someone who cleans and polishes other people's shoes for a living. Bootblacks are seldom found in Europen these days.

Bootleg Liquor:

alcohol that is produced or marketed illegally.

Border Crossing:

a place where it is possible to cross from one country to another.

Born Again:

has a number of connottions. One is of course in the context of reincarnation: some religions believe that we live on earth more than once (which is the traditional belief of Christianity) and our souls migrate to other physical bodies after we have died. Another connection, again religious is in the context of a "born-again Christian", that is somebody who, while he was baptised as a baby, has suddenly become active and very committed again in adult life. Mostly a phenomenon in the USA among evangelising branches of protestantism. There is no reason however why someone should not be a born-again Catholic, Jew or whatever.

Born And Bred:

used after a place or an adjective/noun of nationality: "He's a Welshman born and bred" or a "Mancunian born and bred". It means that he was born and brought up in Wales or Manchester and that his ancestors hailed from there as well.

Born Elsewhere:

Born Free:

"Man is born free yet everywhere he is in chains" is the epic and oft-quoted beginning to one of the most important and influential writings on democracy ever written. Its title is "The Social Contract" (="Du Contrat social") and its author was Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose influence on modern thinking cannot be overestimated yet whose many major writings are accessible to the non-specialist. It is also the title of a touching 1960s film about a lioness, Elsa, who was raised and lived for many years with humans. The film was based on an autobiographical book by Joy Adamson, the naturalist.

Born Genius:

someone who is born with an intelligence far above average and who therefore excells in one or many fields of human endeavour. Whether such individuals really are born geniuses or whether they are born "normal" and respond extraordinarily because they receive constant stimuli. Although the word has been somewhat debased by being applied too often to people who admittedly have gifts but who should not really be described as geniuses. John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Thackeray and others were men of outstanding talent but were they geniuses on the same level and Leonardo Da Vinci, Mozart, Bach, Shakespeare or Aristotle? Have there been women geniuses? If so and based on what criteria? Discuss....

Born Great:

part of a famous quote from Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night": "Some are born great,some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them". The meaning is I think clear.

Born Romantic:

Born Survivor:

soemone who gets through all the adverse circumstances that life throws at them. "Even though she was born with a limp, failed to shine at school, was abandoned by her husband and has had to bring up three children, she has come through it all. She's a born survivor."

Born To Be Loved:

the meaning of this name is fairly clear.

Born To Be Tame:

of course everybody knows the expression (and song) "born to be wild", so the effect is supposed to be humorous.

Born To Be Wild:

a heavy metal song by sixties group, Steppenwolf (after Hermann Hesse's brilliant novel which was so popular in the 1960z). It is supposedly the first time the expression "heavy metal" was used in a rock song. Often associated with leather-clad bikers of any age.

Born To Boogie:

the boogie is a dance, more often used in songs than in everyday life.

Born To Have Fun:

Born To The Purple:

Borne Aloft:

carried high into the air, a literary expression.

Borne In Mind:

a factor that should be borne in mind refers is something that needs to be taken into consideration.

Borrowed Time:

Bosky Arbour:

Bosom Friend:

Bossy Boots:

ironically rather an endearing way of referring to somebody who likes to command other people in an authoritarian way, in other words who likes to boss others around.

Boston Tea Party:

Both Sides Now:

a fabulous song written by the Canadian singer-songwriter, Joni Mitchell, but perhaps better known in the version which got into the singles charts in the UK in 1970. Great song.

Botticelli Angel:

Botticelli (his nickname, not his real surname, c.f. El Greco) is one of the greatest Renaissance painters. Among many other things, he was noted for his beautiful portrayal of angels. It is one of the memorable lines in the very atmospheric Australian film, "Picnic at Hanging Rock", where the line is used to describe the beautiful, young and innocent girls on a fateful and tragic visit from their boarding school to the Outbush. The film is really worth watching even though the mystery of the events of the day of the excursion is not really resolved. Of course, angels are neither male nor female (though the best-known archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are used as traditionally male names and are portrayed as men in paintings). In the context of "Picnic and Hanging Rock", there is no doubt that it is meant to describe young women. It's up to you whether you give the name to a male or female puppy.

Bottle Of Bubbly:

Bottomless Pit:

Bought And Caught:

Bought At Auction:

Bounces Back:

Bound To Be:

destined to exist or live.

Bound To Happen:

Bound To Please:

destined to please.

Bound To Succeed:

destined to succeed, that will inevitably be successful.

Bounding Ahead:

Boundless Energy:

with inexhaustible reserves of energy: best used for a dog that is never still, say a pharaoh hound or almost any small terrier!

Boundless Energy:

Bountiful Supply:

a generous quantity and amount provided with largesse.

Bows Out:

Box And Cox:

to take turns doing the same thing. Often used with a slightly negative meaning: the Box and Cox alternation of Republican and Democrat (or Conservative and Labour in the British context). It comes from an obscure Victorian play, "Box and Cox" by John Maddison Morton (who he?), in which the protagonists were two lodgers who shared the same rooms, one occupying them by day, the other by night.

Box Of Chocolates:

Box Of Tricks:

Box Set:

Box-Office Hit:

Box-Office Record:

Boxing Day:

Bracing Breeze:


Brain Drain:

Brain Of Britain:

Brain Surgeon:

Brain Teaser:

Brains And Beauty:




Brand New Key:

Brass Band:

Brass Tacks:

Brave New World:

Brave Try:

Brazen Cheek:


Brazens It Out:

Brazil Nut:

Bread And Butter:

Bread And Water:


Breadth Of Vision:

Break A Leg:

Break It Gently:

Break The Silence:

Break-Neck Speed:


Breakfast In Bed:

Breaking Even:

Breaking News:

Breaking The Ice:

BreakingThe Rules:

Breakneck Speed:

Breaks Barriers:

Breaks Free:

suddenly makes a bid for freedom; someone who runs aways from his captors or more metaphorically, who casts off the constraints imposed by law or social convention.

Breaks New Ground:

Breaks Out:

Breaks The Bank:

Breaks The Mould:

Breaks The Record:



Breeder's Dream:

Breeding Stock:

Breeding Will Out:



Brick Red:

Bricks And Mortar:

Bridge Of Sighs:

Bridge The Divide:

Bridging The Gap:

Bridging The Gap:

Brief And Concise:

Brief Assessment:

Brief But Intense:

Brief Candle:

Brief Encounter:

Brief History:

Brief Interlude:

Brief Longevity:

nice example of oxymoron. See also "Short Longevity".

Brief Summary:

Brief Synthesis:

Bright And Breezy:

Bright And Cheery:

Bright And Early:

Bright As A Button:

Bright Future:

Bright Idea:

Bright Prospects:

Bright Spark:

Bright Sunshine:

Brim Full

Brindle Beauty:

Bring A Bird Party:

Bring It On:

Bring Me Sunshine:

Bring Them Home:

Bring To The Boil:

Brings It All Back:


Brisk Business:

Brisk Walk:

Bristol Blue:

Bristol Fashion:


British Humour:

Broad Agreement:

Broad Appeal:

Broad Consensus:

Broad Grin:

Broad Grin:

Broad Repertoire:

Broad Scope:

Broad Smile:

Broad Swathe:


Broaden Your Mind:

Broadens The Mind:

Broader Picture:

Broadly Speaking:

Broken English:

Broken Oath:

Broken Oath:

Broken Pledge:

Broken Promise:

Broken Vows:

Broken Word:

Brokers A Deal:

Bronze Beauty:

Brooks No Delay:


Brought To Book:

Brought Up Short:


Brown As A Berry:

Brown Crusader:

Brown Guardian:

Brown Sauce:

Brownfield Site

Brownie Points:


in folklore, a sprite or goblin which is generally well-disposed to humans even helping in household chores at night and living in the house itself. Normally invisible to human beings. They can also live outside houses near waterfalls and streams for example. "Brownie" also refers to the American cake-cum-biscuit usually made with chocolate. I find them heavy and too sweet but for that very reason, I have not eaten many of them... The name would suit a brown-coloured dog.

Brush With The Law:

Brush/Brushes/Brushing It Off:


Brusque Manner:

Brusque Retort:

Brusque Riposte:

Brussels Sprout:

Brute Force:

Brutish And Short:

from Thomas Hobbes's depressing and reactionary book "Leviathan" in which he extolls the virtues, inter alia, of absolute monarchy. Hobbes describes the natural state of mankind (before a system of government has been set up)as a war of man against man (i.e. each man for himself). The full quotation is "And the life of man (is) solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." I bet he was always getting invited to parties...

Bubble And Squeak:



Bucketing Down:

Bucks The Trend

Bucolic Bliss:

Bucolic Idyll

Budding Artist:

Budding Genius:

Budding Linguist:

Budding Novelist:

Budding Painter:

Budding Sculptor:

Budding Writer:

Buffer Zone:

Building Bridges:

Built To Last:



Bully For You:


Bump In The Night:

Bumper Crop:

means the same as "bumper harvest" but be careful: the second word closely resembles a taboo word in English and so people may call your dog "bumper crap" which may be childish but you need to come to terms with, and even make concessions to, human nature.

Bumper Harvest

Bumper To Bumper:

Bumper Yield:

Bumpy Ride:

Bunch Of Keys:

Buoyant Spirit:

Buoyant Spirit:

Burden Of Office:

Burden Of Proof:

Burglar Alarm:

Buried Treasure:


Burly Bouncer:

Burning Ambition:

Burning Ardour:

Burning Bright:

Burning Desire:

Burning Flame:

Burning Issue:

Burning Love:

Burning Question:

Burning The Kilos:

Burning The Salad:

Burnished Brass:

Burnt Almonds:

Burnt To A Cinder:

Burnt Toast:

Burst Of Applause:

Burst Of Speed:

Bury The Hatchet:

Bushy Moustache:


Business Acumen:

Business As Usual:

Business Class:

Business Ethics:

they say "All's fair in love and war", to which ought also to be added "in business", since ethics in this area seem to be woefully lacking. Or am I being too cycnical? I don't think so...

Business Partner:

Busy Busy Busy:

Busy Times Ahead:

Busy Timetable:

Busy Timetable:


But Even So:

But For Fortune:

But I Digress:

But I Digress:

But I Know Better:

But Me No Buts:

Buttered Scone:

Buttered Toast:


Butterfly Effect:

Butterfly Mind:



Buy Books:

Buy Now Pay Later:

Buyer's Market:


By A Whisker:

By A Wide Margin:

By Acclamation:

By All Accounts:

By And By:

By And Large:

By Any Other Name:

By Appointment:

By Bread Alone:

By Candlelight:

By Coincidence:

By Day And By Night:

By Definition:

By Degrees:

By Design:

By Dint Of Trying:

By Easy Stages:

progressing without difficulty from one stage to another in a learniong process.

By Hook Or By Crook:

By Land And Sea:

By Moonlight:

By Night And By Day:

By Nightfall:

By Popular Demand:

By Public Acclaim:

By Pure Chance:

By Royal Command:

By Royal Decree:

By Royal Request:

By Sheer Chance:

purely by luck; by luck alone.

By Smile or Guile:

By Stealth:

By The Armful:

By The Boatload:

in large quantities.

By The By:

By The Fireside:

By The Hearth:

By The Light Of Day:

By The Same Token:

By The Sound Of It:

By The Way:

By The Wayside:

By Their Fruits:

By Torchlight:

By Tradition:

By Way Of Contrast:

By Way Of Example:

By Word Of Mouth:

By Your Leave:

By Your Side:

Bye For Now:

Bygone Era:

a period that has gone by, which no longer exists. For the nostalgic, which we all get with age.


Bête Noire:


C'est La Vie

Cabbage White:

Caffeine Boost(er):

Caffeine Fix:

Caffeine High:

Caffeine Lift:



Caffè Latte

Caffè Lungo

Caffè Ristretto:

Café Corsé:

Café Culture:

Café Noir

Cakes And Ale:

Calculated Risk:

Call My Bluff:

Call To Order:

Called To Account:

Called To The Bar:


Calling Card:

Calling The Banns:

Callooh Callay

Calls A Halt:

Calls It Quits:

"to call it quits" is to give up doing something particularly a practice which has been going on for a while. For example: "I have been breeding dogs for twenty years now but I think that, as I've just become the father of triplets, it's now time for me to call it quits and concentrate on my paternal duties."

Calls The Shots:

Calls The Tune:

Calm And Composed:

Calm And Positive:

as a pedigree name this is more likely to be an aspiration... but dum spiro spero.

Calm And Tranquil:

what we would all like our dog to be even though he very seldom is.......

Calm As A Millpond:

Calm Confidence:

Calm In A Crisis:

Calm In Adversity:

Calm Turbulence:

Calmly Turbulent:

Calvinist Streak:

Cambridge Blue:


Cameo Role:


Camera Obscura:


Campaign Slogan:

Can And Shall:

Can And Will:

Can It Or Ban It:

Can't And Won't:

Can't Be Bothered:

Can't Buy Freedom:

Can't Complain:

Can't Help Myself:

Can't Say No:

Can't Shan't Won't:

Candid Camera:

Candid Exchange:

Candid Talk:

Candy Floss:

Canned Music:

Canned Music:

Canned Heat:

Canned Laughter:




Canterbury Tales:

Canvassing Votes:

Cap And Gown:


from head to foot, from top to bottom, usually used of a person than of a thing:"covered cap-a-pie in mud".

Capacious Space:

Capital City:



Captive Audience:

Captured Alive:

Car-Boot Sale:



Carbon Copy:

Carbon Copy:

Carbon Dating:

Carbon Footprint:

Carbon Neutral:


Card Trick:

Cardinal Sin:

Cardinal Virtue

Care Bear:

Career Change:

Career Diplomat:

Career Ladder:

Careering Along:


Careless Talk:

Careless Whisper:



Caribbean Blue:

Caribbean Pirate:

Caring By Nature:

Caring By Nature:

Carol Singer:

someone who sings carols at Christmas, often in a church choir. A typical custom in English-speaking countries. Most appropriate for puppies born around Christmas time.


Carpe Diem:

Carpet Slippers:

Carrara Marble:

Carriage And Six:

Carries It Off:

Carrot And Stick:

Carrot Cake:

Carry That Weight:

Carrying The Can:

Cart Before Horse

Cartesian Logic:

Case Ending:

Cash And Carry:

Cash Buy:

Cash Dispenser:

Cash In Hand:

Cash In The Attic:

Cash On Delivery:

Cash Or Cheque:

Cash Or Kind:


Cassette Player:

Cast Adrift:

Cast In Bronze (Gold/Silver):

Cast Your Vote:

Cast-Iron Alibi:

Cast-Iron Proof:

Cast-Iron Proof:

Cast-Iron Proof:


Caster Of Spells:

Caster of Spells:

Casting Doubt:

Casting Spells:

Casting Vote:

Castle Keep:

Castle Moat:

Castle Rackrent:

Castle Turret:

Casts Anchor:

Casts Its Spell:

Casts Light:

Casts No Shadow:

Casual Look:

Casual Passer-By:


Cat Among Pigeons:

Cat Burglar:

Cat Lover:

Cat Nap:

Cat's Whiskers:


Catch Sank Cease:

silly approximate phonetic transcription into ordinary English words of the French "quatre, cinq, cease", that is "four, five six".

Catch Twenty-Two:

Catches Alight:

Catches Fire:

Catches The Eye:

something or someone that attracts one's attention catches the eye. See also "Eye-Catcher", the noun and "Eye-Catching", the adjective.

Catches The Worm:

Catching Up Fast:


a phrase or expression popularised by an entertainer, politician or the media, whose use is for that very reason generally short-lived. The word itself is a very rare (possibly unique) example of an English word containing six successive consonants (though phonetically speaking, the "tchphr" bit is merely three successive phonemes, which is not that unusual for English).

Catchy Tune:

Category Of My Own:


Cathartic Moment:

Caught In The Act:

Caught In The Rain:

Caught In The Snow:

Caught Napping:

Caught Off-Guard:

Caught On Camera:

Caught On Screen:

Caught Red Handed:

Caught Unawares:

Cause And Effect:

Cause Célèbre:

Cause For Pride:

Causes A Stir:

Causing Havoc:

Causing Mayhem:

Caustic Comment:

Caustic Remark:

Cautionary Tale:

Cautious Reply:

Cave Canem:

Ce L'Ho Io:

Cease Set Wheat:

silly transcription into ordinary English words the French "six, sept, huit", that is "six, seven, eight".

Cedar Of Lebanon:

Cela Me Suffit:

Celebration Day:


Celtic Fringe:

Celtic Harp:

Celtic Myth:

Celtic Saint:

Celtic Tiger:

Central Figure:

Central Strategy:

Centre Court:

Centre Stage:






Cereal Killer:

Certain Hope:

Certified Copy:

Chagrin d'Amour:

Chain Reaction:

Chalk And Cheese:

Challenging Times:

Chamois Leather:

Chamois Leather:

Champagne On Ice:

Champagne Supper:


Chance Discovery:

Chance Encounter:

Chance Meeting:

Chances Are:

Change Of Heart:

Change Of Mind:

Change Of Pitch:

Change Of Scene:

Change Of Scenery:

Change Of Tactics:

Change Of Tone:

Change Of Tune:

Changes Gear:

Changing My Ways:

Changing Reality:

Changing Times:

Channel Crossing:

Channel Ferry:

Channel Swimmer:

Channel Tunnel:

Channel Tunnel:

Chanson d'Amour:

Chaos Theory:

Chapter And Verse:



Chariots Of Fire:



Charm Of Novelty:

Charm Offensive:

Charmed I'm Sure:

Charmed Life:

Chart Topper:


Chasing Chimera:

Chasing Rainbows:

Chasing Shadows:

Chat-Up Line:


Che Vuoi Di Più:

Cheap Thrills:

Check Beforehand:

Check It Out:



Cheddar Gorge:

Cheek By Jowl:

Cheeks Aglow:

Cheeky Chuckle:

Cheeky Grin:

Cheeky Smile:

Cheeky So-And-So:

Cheers Me Up No End:

Cheery Chirping:

Cheery Dirge:

Cheery Exterior:

Cheery Grin:

Cheery Laughter:

Cheery Smile:

Cheese And Onion:

Cheese Soufflé:

Chelsea Bun:


apparently Chinese for "great" and a common Chinese surname. It is also Hebrew for "loveliness" or "grace". Thus the word could be used for either dogs or bitches but perhaps best with a Chinese or Israeli breed.

Chequered Career:

Chequered Flag:

Chequered Past:

Cherished Belief:

Cherished Hope:

Cherished Memory:

Cherished Wish:


Chewing A Wasp:

Chi Me Lo Fa Fare:

Chi Va Piano:


Chief Suspect:


Child Prodigy:

Childhood Memory:


Chills Out:

Chiming The Hours:

Chin Wag:

China Tea:


Chinese Burn:

Chinese Election:

Chinese Made Easy:

Chinese Pagoda:

Chinese Proverb:

Chinese Takeaway:

Chinese Whispers:








Chocolat Suisse:

Chocolat belge:

Chocolate Biscuit:

Chocolate Cake:

Chocolate Chip:

Chocolate Delight:

Chocolate Dream:

Chocolate Eclair:

Chocolate Egg:

Chocolate Flake:

Chocolate Fudge:

Chocolate Heaven:

Chocolate Log:

Chocolate Mousse:

Chocolate Teapot:

Chocolate Treat:


Choice Morsel:

Choice Words:

Choir Invisible

Choose A Number:

Choosy By Nature:

Chop And Change:

Chop Chop:

a slang expression used to encourage someone to hurry. Derives from Chinese pidgin English and basically means "do it quickly", "hurry up" or "don't delay". Apparently, "chopsticks" is derived form the same root


Choral Symphony:



Chorus Of Dissent:

Chosen With Care:

Christmas Bonus:

Christmas Card:

Christmas Cheer:

Christmas Gift:

Christmas Party:

Christmas Past:

Christmas Tree:

Christmas Wishes:


a little used expression (except in Christmas cards) for the Christmas period. See also "Eastertide".



Church Bells:

Cigar Smoke:


Cinnamon Toast:


Cinéma Verité:

Circuitous Path:

Circuitous Route:





Citizen's Arrest:

Citizen's Arrest:


City Centre:

City Life:

City Lights:


Civic Duty:

one's duty as a citizen: for example "I always go and vote at elections. I see it as part of my civic duty in a democratic country".

Civil Servant:

Civil Unrest:


Civilised Values:

Clad In Black:

Claim To Fame:

Clambers Aloft:

Clapham Omnibus:

Clarion Call:

Clash Of Cultures:

Clash Of Cultures:

Clash Of Egos:

Clash Of Ideas:

Class Act:

Class Struggle:

Classic Design:

Classic Play:

Classic Poem:


Classical Gas:

Classical Music:


Classics Student:

Clause And Pause:

pathetic wordplay perhaps but may elicit a chuckle

Clean As A Whistle:

Clean Living:

Cleanse The Spirit:

Clear Advantage:

Clear As A Bell:

Clear As Day:

Clear Blue Water:

Clear Choice:

Clear Conscience:

Clear Diction:

Clear The Decks:

Clearing The Way:

Clever Clogs:

Clever Ploy:

Clever Stratagem:

Clever Tactics:

Clever Technique:



Climactic Finale:

Climate Change:

Climb Aboard:

Climbing Everest:

Climbs Aboard:

Climbs Aloft:

Clinches The Deal:

Clinging On:

Cloak And Dagger:


Clockwork Orange:


Cloistered Life:

Close Affinity:

Close At Hand:

Close By:

Close Call:

Close Embrace:

Close Encounters:

Close Friend:

Close Inspection:

Close Kin:

Close Proximity:

Close Scrutiny:

Close To The Edge:

Close To You:

Close-Run Thing:

Cloth Napkin:

remember: "napkins" are made of cloth, "serviettes" of paper. They are not synonyms!

Clothes Line:

Clotted Cream:

Cloud Cover:

Cloud Cuckoo Land:



Cloudless Sly:

Club Newsletter:




Coal Scuttle:

Coastal Erosion:



Cobalt Blue:


Cobweb Labyrinth:


Cocking A Snook:

Cockney Knees-Up:

Cockney Rebel:

Cockney Sparrow:

Cocktail Trail:

Cocoa Bean:


Code Of Conduct:

Code Of Honour:


Coded Message:

Coffee A Go-Go:

Coffee Addict:

Coffee Break:

Coffee Crisp:


Cog In The Machine:

Cogent Argument:


Cogito Ergo Sum:

Cold But Sunny:

Cold Caller:

Cold Comfort:

Cold Feet:

Cold Grey Day:

Cold Light Of Day:

Cold Shoulder:

Cold Snap:

Cold Warrior:

Collective Effort:

Collective Noun:

Collision Course:

Colloquial Phrase/Term:



Colonial Outpost:

Colour Blind:


an attractive yellow wild flower which grows in the English countryside.

Comble De Joie:

Come Again:

Come And Gone:

Come As You Are:

Come Came Come:

Come Fly With Me:

Come Rain Or Shine:

Come To Think Of It:

Come Together:

Come Up And See Me:

Come Up To The Lab:

Come What May:


Comeback Kid:

Comedy Of Errors:

Comes Aboard:

Comes Ashore:

Comes Clean:

Comes Full Circle:

Comes In Handy:

Comes Into Focus:

Comes Into View:

Comes Of Age:

Comes Through:

Comes To Fruition:

Comes To The Fore:

Comes Up Trumps:


Comfort And Joy

Comfort Blanket:

Comfort Zone:



Comic Classic:

Comic Denouement:

Comic Drama:

Comic Genius:

Comic Interlude:

Comic Relief:

Comic Sketch:

Comical Smile:

Coming And Going

Coming Clean:

Coming First:

Coming To Grips:

"to come to grips with a problem" is to tackle or deal with a difficult or delicate situation.

Coming To Terms:

Coming Up For Air:


the punctuation mark which denotes a natural pause in the flow of the sentence. It is written thus: ",". Also the name of a species of butterfly, native to the UK which has heavily indented wings the under-surface of which are a drab brown save for a white mark which resembles the abovementioned punctuation mark. For the entomologists or lepidopterists among you, its Latin name is "polygonia c-album". It was a rare sight when I was a child and is apparently one of the few British species of butterfly which has increased in numbers over recent decades. At last, a positive note in the butterfly world! Could be used for a dark dog which has a small, apostrophe (or "c") shaped mark on its coat.

Commanding Lead:

Commands Respect:

Comme Ci Comme Ca

French for "so-so", "not too bad" (literally "like this like that").

Comme ça Me Chante:

"as the fancy takes me" in French. The "C" should be in upper case but if I type a capital "C", I lose the cedilla which is essential to keep the "C" soft. Linguists and fellow lovers of the French language will know what I mean.

Comme ça Me Chante:

"as the fancy takes me" in French. The "C" should be in upper case but if I type a capital "C", I lose the cedilla which is essential to keep the "C" soft. Linguists and fellow lovers of the French language will know what I mean.

Commemoration Day


Comment Ca Va


Common Courtesy:

politeness, good manners which unfortunately are not particularly common these days. Often heard in the context of: "It's only common courtesy to ......."

Common Decency:

Common Destiny:

Common Fallacy:

Common Interest:

Common Knowledge:

Common Or Garden:

Common Practice:

Common Sense:

Common Theme:

Common Values:


Communal Hartmony:

Community Spirit:

Compact Disc:

Companion Volume:


Comparative Calm:

Comparing Notes:


Compelling Case:

Compelling Proof:


Competitive Edge:

Complete Candour

Complex Intrigue:

Complex Issue:

Complex Plot:

Complex Question:

Complex Strategy:

Complex Syntax:

Complicatedly Easy:

Compos Mentis:

"of sound mind" in Latin. In English, the expression is often quoted in the negative "non compos mentis" ("not of sound mind"). Obviously you do not want to imply that your dog is insane .... or do you?


Computer Graphic:


Con Brio:


Concealed Exit:


Conceptual Art:

Concerted Effort:

Concise History:

Conclusive Proof:

Concrete And Clay:

Concrete Example:

Conduct Becoming:

Conduct Improper:

inappropriate behaviour often of a sexual or moral nature. Can also be "improper conduct" (q.v.) in a less literary or formal context.

Conduct Unseemly:


Confirms The Rule:




Congress System:

Conjuring Trick:

Conquering Doubt:

Conquers Everest:

Conscience Money:


Conscious Effort:


Consider It Done:

Considerable Sum:




Constant Craving:

Constant Friend:


Consumer Durable:




Contemporary Art:


Contempt Of Court:

Continental Drift:

Continental Ways:

Contingency Plan:

Continues Apace:


Control Freak:





Cooking The Books:

falsifying data, providing deliberately inaccurate information or statistics.

Cool And Calm:

we can but hope that the dog in question will live up to its name.

Cool And Trendy:

Cool Ardour:

Cool As A Cucumber:

Cool Compassion:

Cool Confidence:

Cool Customer:

Cool Exterior:

Cool Exuberance:

Cool Fire:

Cool In A Crisis:

Cool Million:

Cool Orange Juice:

Cooling Breeze:

Coolly Explosive:

Cor Strewth:


Corn Exchange:


Corner Café:

Coronation Day:

Coronation Scot:

a train of a bright blue colour which ran from London to Glasgow. It was inaugurated to celebrate the coronation of George VI in 1937 and was discontinued two years later on the outbreak of the Second World War. Would suit blue dogs (which ironically are grey in colour) and any dog that has a Scottish connection.

Corporate Greed:

Correct English:

Correct Grammar:

Correct Spelling:

Correctly Spelt:

Corruscating Wit:

Cosa Nostra:

Cosa Nostra:

Cosmic Harmony:

Cosseted Life:

Cost Of Living:



Costing The Earth:

Costume Drama:

Cosy Arrangement:

Cosying Up:

Cotswold Stone:

Cottage Garden:

Couch Potato:

Cough Candy:

Could And Should:

Could Eat A Horse:

Count Me In:

Count On Me:

Count The Pennies:

Countdown (To Zero):





an eiderdown, a bed-cover.


an eiderdown, a bed-cover.


Counting Sheep:

Counting The Cost:

Country Curate:

Country Garden:

Country Jaunt:

Country Life:

Country Pastimes:

Country Pursuits:

Country Retreat:

Country Walk:


Coup d'Etat:

Court Etiquette:

Courteous Manner:

Courteous Reply:

Courting Danger:

Courtly Intrigue:

Courtroom Drama:

Courtship Ritual:



Covert Insurgent:


Cradle To Grave:

Cram For The Exam:

Crash Course:

Craves Attention:

Crazy Affair:

Crazy Idea:

Crazy Mixed-Up:

Crazy Notion:

Crazy Paving:

Cream Cracker:

Cream Fudge:

Cream Of The Crop:

Cream Tea:

Creamy Rich:

Creamy Texture:

Creative Artist:

Creative Energy:

Creative Force:

Creative Genius:

Creative Impluse:

Creative Thought:

Creative Writing:

Creature Comfort:

Creature Feature:

Creature Of Habit:

Credibility Gap:

Credible Witness:

Credit Crunch:

Credit Squeeze:

Creme Caramel:


Crescent Moon:

Crest Of The Wave

Cricket Match:

cricket is of course a quintessentially English sport. I would prefer to hack my arm off with a rusty razor blade than to be forced to watch a cricket match. Boring or what. Even playing it, which I was forced to do at school, was tedious in the extreme. I'm sorry but ultimately unrepentant.


Crime Doesn't Pay:

Crime Of Passion:

Crime Scene:

Crime Wave:

Crisis Point:

Crisp Chocolate:

Crisp Curls:

Crisp Snow:

Critical Edition:

Critical Mass:

Crock Of Gold:

Crocodile Tears:

Crop Circle:

Cross My Heart:

Cross Swords:

to have an altercation with someone, usually just verbal.

Cross The Rubicon:

Cross Your Ts:




Crosses The Line:


Crossword Puzzle:

Crow Black:



Crowds And Power:

Crown Imperial:

Crown Jewels:

Crowned Head:

Crowned Republic:

Crowning Glory:

Crucial Decision:

Crucial Element:

Crucial Factor:

Cruel Summer:

Crumb Of Comfort:

Crunch Time:

Crusading Zeal:

Cry Foul (Fowl):

Cry Freedom:

Cry Me A River:

Cry Wolf:

Cryptic Comment:

Cryptic Message:


Crystal Clear:

Crème Brûlée:

Crème de Menthe:

Crème de la Crème:




Cult Film/ Movie:

Cult Legend:

Cultural Icon:

Cultural Taboo:

Culture Clash:

Culture Club:

Culture Shock:

Culture Vulture:

Cum Laude:


Cunning Plan:

Cunning Strategy:

Cup Final:

Cupboard Love:

love that is not genuine because it is base on self interest. Affection that is given only because the person doing so receives a reward. "She thinks her cat loves her but the only time it shows affection is when it wants to be fed. That's what I call cupboard love".

Cupid's Arrow:

Cupid's Dart:

Curio Collector:

Curiosity Value:

Curious Onlooker:





Current Events:

Current Trend:

Curriculum Vitae:

Currying Favour:

Curt Reply:

Curtain Call:

Curtain Raiser:

Cushions The Blow:

Custard Pie:

Cut And Dried:

Cut And Run:

Cut And Thrust:

Cut Cut Cut:

Cut To The Chase:

Cut-Glass Accent:

Cute And Cuddly:

Cuts The Mustard:

Cutting A Dash

Cutting A Swathe:

Cutting Corners:

Cutting Edge:

Cutting It Fine:

Cutting Remark:

Cutting The Bonds:



Cycling Holiday:


Cynical Idealist:

Cynical My Foot:




Da Doo Ron Ron:

Dab Hand

Daily Blessings:

Daily Dose:

Daily Grind:

Daily Newspaper:

Daily Occurrence:

Daily Pint:

Daily Rat Race:

Daily Ritual:

Daily Roughage:

Daily Routine:

Damning Evidence:

Damp Dessication:

Damp Squib:

Dance To The Music:

Dancehall Days:

Dances On:

Dancing Bear:

Danger Level:

Danger Money:

Danger Zone:

Dangerous Desire:

Dangles A Carrot:

Danish Blue:

Danish Cartoon:

Danish Pastry:

Danish Pastry:

Danse Macabre:

Dare To Dream:

Dare To Question:

Dare To Resist:

Daring Deed:

Dark And Smooth:

Dark And Sultry:

Dark Avenger:

Dark Chocolate:

Dark Dark Night:

Dark Designs:

Dark Desires:

Dark Force:

Dark Forces:

Dark Foreboding:

Dark Guardian:

Dark Horse:

Dark Horse:

Dark Imagination:

Dark Insinuation:

Dark Intent:

Dark Magic:

Dark Materials:

Dark Matter:

Dark Night:

Dark Past:

Dark Purpose:

Dark Sacred Night:

Dark Sarcasms:

Dark Satanic Mill:

Dark Secret:

Dark Shadow:

Dark Spendour:

Dark Star:

Dark Stormy Night:

Dark Thoughts:

Dark Tongue:

Dark Undertones:

Darkening Clouds:

Darkening Skies:

Darkness Visible:

Dartford Warbler:

Darwin Was Right:

Darwin's Theory:

Dash Of Rum:

Dash To Freedom:

Dastardly Deeds:

Dastardly Plot:


Date With Destiny:

Day After Day:

Day And Night:

Day By Day:

taking each day as it comes, gradually. Similar expressions: week by week; month by month; year by year.

Day In Day Out:

Day Of Destiny:

Day Of Reckoning:

Day Of Rest:

Day Return:

Day Tripper:



Daylight Robbery:

Daylight Saving:

Days Like These:



Dazzling Array:

Dazzling Display:

De Facto:

De Jure:

De Luxe Model:

De Pace Perpetua:

De Rigueur:

Dead Certainty:

Dead Chuffed:

Dead Flash:

Dead Giveaway:

Dead Ringer:

Dead Straight:

Deadly Accurate:

Deafening Din:

an extremely loud noise:

Deafening Row:

Deals In Millions:

Deals The Blow:

Dear Friend:

Dear Reader:

Dearer Than Life:

Dearly Beloved:

Dearth Or Glut:

an expression meaning "either an insufficiency or an over-abundance of something".

Death And Taxes:

Debt Of Gratitude:

Debt Of Honour:

Debunks The Myth:

Debut Album:

Debut Match:


Deceptively Easy:

Deciding Factor:

Deciduous Forest:

Deciduous Woods:

where I most like to walk the dogs. I far prefer to commune with nature in deciduous woods than coniferous woods. Trees that do not shed their leaves in winter are rather sinister: those that do are lighter in both winter and summer.

Decimal Coinage:

Decimal Point:

Decimal System:


Decisive Action:

Decisive Moment:

Decisive Role:

Decisively Vague:

Deck The Halls:

Declared Aim:

Decorous Conduct:


Deductive Logic:

Deed Not Breed:

Deeds Not Words:

Deep Convictions:

deeply-held beliefs.

Deep Crisp Even:

Deep Emotions:

Deep Empathy:

Deep Gratitude:

Deep Impact:

Deep Insight:

Deep Meditation:

Deep Reflections:

Deep Relaxation:

Deep Snowdrift:

Deep Space:

Deep Thinker:

Deep Thought:

Deep Water(s):

Deep-Sea Diver:

Deepening Shadow:

Deeper Than Love:

Deepest Darkest:

Deeply Attached:

Deeply Involved:

Deeply Ironic:

Deeply Moved:

Defence Strategy:

Defences Down:

Deferred Success:

Defiant Gesture

Defiant Message:

Defiant Mood:

Defiant Rhetoric:

Defiant Speech:

Defiant Stand:

Defiant Words:

Defies Orthodoxy:

Define Your Terms:

Defining Moment:

Defining Moment:

Definite Article:

Definite Maybe:

Definitive Issue:

Deft Manoeuvre:

Deft Move:

Defy Definition:

Defying The Odds:

Dejà Vu:

Delayed Reaction:

Delaying Tactics:

Delete Expleteive:

Deliberate Ploy:

Deliberately So:

Delicate Balance:

Delicious Irony:

Delphic Answer:

Delphic Oracle:


Democratic Duty:

Democratic Vote:

Demon Drink:


Den Of Iniquity:

Denial Is Futile:

Dense Fog:

Dented Dignity:

Dented Pride:


Depleted Uranium:

Deponent Verb:

Depth Charge:

Depths Of Winter:

Desert Island:

Desert Mirage:

Desert Mirage:

Deserving Case:

Design Feature:

Designer Label:

Desired Effect:

Desired Result:

Desperate Outlaw:

Desperate Remedy:

Destined To Be:

Destined To Be:

Destiny Awaits:

Destiny Beckons:


Detached Calm:

Detailed Answer:

Detailed Report:

Detailed Study:

Detective Novel:

Detective Work:


Devil's Advocate:


Deviously Direct:

Devon Cider:

Devon Cream Tea:

Devotion To Duty:

Devout Sceptic:



Dial My Number:


Diamond Life:


Diary Entry:

Diary Jottings:


Dicing With Death:

Dickensian World:

Did You Ever:

Didactic Purpose:


Die-Hard Fan:

Different Issue:

Difficult To Miss:

Diffidently Smug:

Dig And Delve:

Dignified Entry:

Dignity Intact:

Digs For Victory:

Dijon Mustard:


Diligent Work:

Diligent Worker:

Diligent Worker:


Dines Al Fresco:


Dining Al Fresco:

Dining At The Ritz:

Diplomatic Bag:

Diplomatic Corps:

Diplomatic Tact:

Dire Consequence:

Dire Straits:

Direct Contact:

Direct Debit:

Direct Democracy:

Direct Effect:

Direct Election:

Direct Hit:

Direct Object:

Direct Speech:

Dirty Weekend:

Disappearing Act:

Discerning Taste:



Disco Dancer:

Disco Music:

Disco Smooch:

Disco Sound:



Disdainful Air:


Dishevelled Look:



Disk Jockey:

Dispatch Box:

Dispels Disquiet:

Dispels Disquiet:

Dispels Disquiet:

Display Of Unity:

Display Of Virtue:

Dissenting Voice:

Dissenting Voice:



Distant Chimes:

Distant Country:

Distant Cousin:

Distant Cry:

Distant Echo:

Distant Galaxy:

Distant Horizons:

Distant Land(s):

Distant Outpost:

Distant Prospect:

Distant Relation:

Distant Thunder:

Distant Voices:

Distinctive Role:

Distinctive Roll:

Distinguished Air:

Dive For Safety:

Diverse Array:

Diversity United:

Dives For Cover:

Divide And Rule:

Divide Et Impera:

Divided Opinion:

Divided We Fall:

Dividing Line:

Divine Comedy:

Divine Decadence:

Divine Design:

Divine Folly:

Divine Madness:

Divine Plan:

Divine Right:

Divisive Issue:

Dizzy Spell:

Dizzy(ing) Heights:

Do As I Do:

Do As I Say:

Do As The Romans Do:

Do As You Like:

Do As You Please:

Do As You Wish:

Do As You're Told:

Do I Look Bothered:

Do Me A Favour:

Do Or Die:

Do The Impossible:

Do The Maths:

Do The Right Thing:

Do Unto Others:

Do Wah Diddy Diddy:

Do Your Duty:

Do Your Homework:

Do Your Own Thing:




Doctor X:

Doctor's Orders:

Doctoral Thesis:

Doctoral Thesis:


Dodgy Connection:

Dodgy Dealings:

Dodgy Logic:

Does A Runner:

Does It For Real:

Does The Double:

Doesn't Time Fly:

Dogged Endurance:

Dogged Refusal:


Doggerel Verse:


Doing As I´m Told:

the perfect name for an obedient dog.........

Doing Canoeing:

Doing Canoeing:

Doing Fine Now:

Doing Good:

Doing My Best:

Doing My Bit:

Doing My Utmost:

Doing What's Best:

Dolce Farniente:

Domesday Book:

Domestic Bliss:

Domino Effect:

Don Your Hat:

Don't Answer Back:

Don't Be Fooled:

Don't Be Long:

Don't Blame Me:

Don't Bottle It Up:

Don't Call Us:

Don't Dawdle:

Don't Dilly-Dally:

Don't Do As I Do:

Don't Dwell On It:

Don't Fence Me In:

Don't Fidget:

Don't Get Me Wrong:

Don't Judge A Book:

Don't Knock It:

Don't Let Me Down:

Don't Look Now:

Don't Mind If I Do:

Don't Mind Me:

Don't Pass Me Over:

Don't Push It:

Don't Push Me:

Don't Quibble:

Don't Rush Me:

Don't Say A Word:

Don't Stop Me Now:

Don't Tempt Fate:

Don't Think Twice:

Don't Walk Away:

Done A Runner:

Done And Dusted:

Done Deal:

Done For Effect:

Done That:

Done With Panache:

Donkey's Years


Door To Infinity:


Doppler Effect:

Dormitory Suburb:


Double Digit:

Double Dip:

a term from economics, usually used in the phrase "double dip recession" when an economy looks poised to leave recession, after a recent period of positive economic performance, yet goes back into recession (down up down).

Double Dutch:

Double Entendre:

Double Fantasy:

Double Feature:

Double Jeopardy:

Double Life:

Double Meaning:

Double Or Quits:

Double Quick Time:

Double Quick:

Double Rainbow:

Double Smooth:

Double Standards:

Double Take:

Double Trouble:

Double Whammy:

Double Your Money:






Doubly Blessed:

having two blessings or reasons to be grateful and happy: "With the birth of our twins, my wife and I are doubly blessed". There is probably a religious origin to this idiom.

Doubly Singular:

a paradox and an oxymoron (I think).

Doubly Sure:

"to make doubly sure" means to check twice by way of caution.

Doubtful Outcome:

Down Memory Lane:

Down On My Uppers:

Down The Aisle:

Down The Hatch:

Down To Business:

Down To Earth:

Down Yonder:


Downing Street:




Downward Ascent:

Draft Amendment:

Draft Cider:

Draft Copy:

Draft Resolution:


Dramatic Action:

Dramatic Aside:

Dramatic Effect:

Dramatic Entry:

Dramatic Exit:

Dramatic Irony:

Dramatic Upsurge:

Drastic Action:

Drastic Change(s):

Drastic Measure(s):

Drastic Remedy:


Draws The Line:

Dream And Reality:

Dream Come True:

Dream Fulfilled:

Dream Of Delight:

Dream Of Freedom:

Dream On:

Dream Scenario:

Dream Team:

Dream The Dream:

Dream Ticket:

Dream Time:

Dream World:

Dream Your Dream:

Dreaming Is Free:

Dreaming Is Free:

Dreaming Is Free:

Dreaming Schemes:

Dreaming Spires:

Dreams Of Avarice:

Dreams Of Youth:


Dress Rehearsal:

Dressed In Blue/ Black/Yellow, etc.

Dressed To Kill:

Drifting Snow:


Drip-Drip Effect:

Drip-Drip Process:

Drive My Car:

Drive-In Movie:

Driving Ambition:

Driving Force:

Driving License:

Driving Rain:

Drop Me A Line:

Drops A Hint:

Drops Anchor:

Drums In The Deep:

Dry Humour:

Dry Ice::

Dry Run:

Dry White Wine:

Dual Carriageway:

Dual Mandate:

Dual Monarchy:

Dual Nationality:

Dual Purpose:

Dubious Company:

Dubious Honour:


a denizen of Dublin. Check out James Joyce's book of short stories, "Dubliners".

Duck And Weave:

Duck To Water:

Ducks And Drakes:


Due At Two:

Due Deference:

Due North/South/East/West:

Due Respect:

Due Reward:

Duet For One:

Dulcet Tones:

Dum Spiro Spero:





Dunking Doughnut:

Dusk To Dawn:


Dust Devil:

Dust To Dust:

Dutch Auction:

Dutch Concert:

Dutch Courage:

Dutch Treat:

Dutch Uncle:

Duty Calls:

Duty Of Care:


Dwelling Place:

Dwindling Stock:

Dyed Black/Blue/White/Red etc.:

Dyed In The Wool

Dying Dream:

Dynamic Duo:

Dynamic Force:


Dynastic Rule:


E Pluribus Unum:

Each And Every Day:

Each Day A Holiday:

Each To His/Her Own:

Eager For Fame:

Eager To Please:

Eagle In A Sunbeam:


Early Arrival:

Early Bird:

Early Day Motion:

Early Days (Yet):

Early One Morning:

Early Promise:

Early Retirement:

Early Riser:

Early Start:

Early To Bed:

Early To Rise:

Early Warning:


"destined", "put aside for a specific purpose", as in the expression "earmarked for greater things". However the expression could also be used for a dog with markings on its ears.

Earnest Worker:

Earning My Living:

Earning My Living:

Earth Sea And Sky:

Earth Summit:

Earth Tremor:

Earthly Delights:

Earthly Paradise:

Earthly Sojourn:


Easier Said:

Easily Led:

Easily Led:

East Is East:

East-Asian Nation:

Easter Bunny:

Easter Egg:

for puppies born on or around Easter.

Easter Gift:

for a puppy born on or around Easter.

Eastern Promise:

Eastern Question:


almost obsolete (or little used) word meaning "Easter time", the period around Easter. The slightly more often used "Christmastide" also exists. Best for a dog born on Easter day or thereabouts.

Easy Access:

Easy As ABC:

Easy Come Easy Go:

Easy Conscience:

Easy Does It:

Easy If You Try:

Easy Listening:

Easy On The Eye:

Easy Option:

Easy Peasy:

Easy Peasy:

a child's (or childish) way of saying "very easy".

Easy Pickings:

Easy Rider:

Easy Target:

Easy To Please:

Easy Way Out:


undemanding, simple to fullfil.


Eat Ate Eaten:

Eat Drink Be Merry:

Eat Up Your Greens:

what parents often urges their reluctant offspring to do in these days of five (or even seven)fruit and vegetables a day

Eat Your Heart Out:

Eating Apple:

if your dog feasts off the windfalls from your apple trees every autumn, you might consider this name for his/her puppies.


Ebb And Flow:



Eccentric Idea:

Eccentric Orbit:



Echo Chamber:


Echoing Silence:

Eclectic Mix:

Eclectic Reader:

Eclectic Tastes:

Eco Warrior


Economic Boom:

Economic Miracle:

Economic Squeeze:

Economic Turmoil:

Economic Upturn:

Ecstatic Acclaim:

Ecstatic Applause:

Ecstatic Vision:

Ed E Subito Sera:

Edge Of The Wedge:

Edges In Front:

Edging Ahead:

Edging Closer:

Edict Of Nantes:

Edited Version:


Editorial Policy:

Educated Guess:

Eeny Meeny Miny Mo:

Eerie Frisson:

Eerie Silence:

Eerily Calm:

Eerily Quiet:

Effective Action:

Effective Action:

Effective Method:



Effort Of Will:

Effort Rewarded:

Effort Rewarded:

Effort Rewarded:





Effusive Praise:

Egg Flip:

synonym of "egg nog".

Egg Nog:



Egyptian Deity:

Egyptian Pyramid:



Eight Days A Week:

Eighties Classic:


Einstein's Theory:

Either In Or Out:

Either Or:

Eking Out A Living:

Elaborate Hoax:

Elaborate Hoax:

Elbow Room:

Elderberry Wine:


"Visionary" in Elvish, the language invented in his books by Tolkien.

Election Day:


Electric Blue:

Electric Charge:

Electric Torch:


Elegant Flourish:

Elegant Phrase:

Elegantly Put:

Elegiac Quality:

Elegiac Verse:


Elemental Being:

Elemental Forces:

Elemental Power:

Elemental Spirit:



a snack and/or at least a hot beverage consumed around 11 a.m. to tide you over until lunch. Slightly different from "brunch" which is a meal you have late on a Saturday, or particularly Sunday, morning which replaces breakfast and lunch.

Eleventh Hour:

Eligible Suitor:


Elite Force:


Elixir Of Life:


Elocution Lesson:

Eloquent Orator:

Eloquent Prose:

Eloquent Silence:

Eloquent Speech:



Elusive Dream:

Elusive Dream:

Elusive Element:

Elusive Ideal:


Elysian Fields:



Embossed Logo:

Embracing Change:

Emerald City:

Emerald City:

Emergency Call:

Emergency Exit:

Emergency Powers:

Emergency Stop:

Emerging Power:

Eminence Grise:

Eminent Exponent:

Emolient Tone:

Emotional Impact:

Emotional Moment:

Emotional Rescue:

Emotive Language:

Emphatic Denial:

Emphatic No:

Emphatic Yes:

Empirical Proof:

practical, down-to-earth, real evidence (as opposed to theoretical) to back up a hypothesis.

Empty Auditorium:

Empty Gesture:

Empty Promises:

Empty Rhetoric:

Empty Space:

Empty Threat:

Empty Words:


En Bloc:

as a group, in one group; united, undivided, together.


Enchanted Forest:



Encouraging News:

End Of An Epoch:

End Of An Era:

End Of Innocence:

End Of Part One:

End Of Phase One:

End Of Story:

End Of The Line:

End Result:

Endangered Breed:

Endearing Ways:

Endless Fun:

Endless Space:

Ends Of The Earth:

Ends On A High Note:

Endurance Test:


Enduring Appeal:

Enduring Brevity:

oxymoron - take it or leave it!

Enduring Memory:

Enduring Quality:

quality which lasts.


Energy Efficient:

Energy Giant:

Energy Reserves:

Energy Saver:

Energy Source:


Enfant Terrible:

Engaged Tone:

Engaging Manner:

Engaging Smile:

England Expects:

English Grammar:

Engrossing Read:

a story which grabs and keeps your attention; a book you just can't put down because it draws you in.

Enhanced Image:

Enhanced Profile:

Enigma Resolved:

Enigma Variation:

Enigmatic Answer:

Enigmatic Ending:

Enigmatic Reply:

Enigmatic Smile:


Enjoying Life:


Enough Is Enough

Enough Said:

Enough To Get By:

Enough To Go Round:

Enriched Uranium:


Entente Cordiale:

Enters The Fray:

Enters The Fray:

Enters The Fray:





Enticing Offer:



Enuma Elish:

the first words of the Mesopotamian creation myth, and now the name given to the whole of the myth. It is believed to predate the biblical creation myth by several hundred years.

Epic Journey:

Epic Proportions:

Epic Struggle:

Epic Voyage:



Epistolary Novel:

a novel recounted in the form of letters. Stoker's "Dracula", most of Richardson's weighty tomes and even Montesquieu's social critique "Persian Letters" (well worth a read as a critique of French absolutism at the beginning of the Enlightenment) take the form of an exchange of letters.


Eppur Si Muove:

Epîtome Of Tact:

Equal Footing:

Equal Rights

Equal Treatment:

Equal Treatment:


Ergonomic Design:

Error Of Judgment:

Error Of My Ways:

"to see the error of one's ways" is to realise what one has been doing wrong and to make up one's mind not to repeat the error in future.

Erstwhile Friend:

Escape Artist:

Escape Clause:

Escape To Freedom:


Esoteric Science:



Espouse The Cause:

Esprit De Corps:

often used by native English speakers as a synonym for the more frequently used expression, "team spirit".

Essential Oils:


Established Fact:

an incontrovertible or generally accepted fact

Esteemed Virtue:

Estuary English:


Etched In Memory:

Eternal Ascent:

Eternal City:

Eternal Dilemma:

Eternal Flame:

Eternal Idealist:

Eternal Mystery:

Eternal Optimist:

Eternal Paradox:

Eternal Peace:

Eternal Present:

Eternal Sceptic:

Eternal Spirit:

Eternal Student:

Eternal Truth:

Eternal Youth:

Ethereal Being.

Ethical Dilemma:





Euphoric Acclaim


Eureka Moment:

Euro Zone:

those members of the European Union that have adopted the Euro as their domestic currency.





Europe's Pride:

European Ideal:

European Union:

European Unity:






Evasive Action:

Evasive Answer:

Evasive Reply:

Even As We Speak:

Even Number:

Even Tan:



Evening All:

Evening Classes:

Evening Falls:

Evening Stroll:

Evening Stroller:


Eventful Career:

Eventful Times:

Eventful Weekend:

Eventful Year:


a literary or even biblical word which emphasises the pleasant, calming effect of evening as things gradually wind down from the stresses of the working day. It evokes inner peace, beautiful sunsets and so on.

Eventual Outcome:

Ever Busy:

Ever Closer Union:

Ever Courteous:

Ever Dependable:

Ever Hopeful:

Ever In Your Debt:

Ever Inventive:

Ever Mindful:

Ever Onwards:

Ever Ready:

Ever Resolute:

Ever So French:

Ever So Much:

Ever So Slightly:

Ever So:

Ever The Diplomat:

Ever True:

Ever Upwards:

Ever Versatile:

Ever Vigilant:

Ever Watchful:



Everlasting Love:

Every Bit Helps:

Every Confidence:

Every Day Counts:

Every Now And Then:

Every One A Winner:

Every Other Day:

every second day, every alternate day, once every two days.

Every Other Year:

Every So Often:

Every Time:

Every Week Counts:

Every Word You Say:

Every Year Counts:

Everybody Out:

Everyday Life:

Everyday Miracle:

Everyday Rarity:

Everyday Story:

Everything I Need:

Evil Genius:


Ex Libris:


Exact Opposite:

Exact Replica:

Exam Crib:

Exam Technique:


Exceeding Hope:


Excess Baggage:

Exchange Of Ideas:

Exchange Of Views:

Exchange Rate:

Exchange Student:

Exchange Visit:

Excited Tedium:


Exciting Times:

Exclusive Offer:

Exclusive Story:

Excuse My French:

Executive Power:

Exemplary Tale:




Exiguous Expanse:



Exotic Accent:

Exotic Fantasy:

Exotic Frogmella:

Exotic Fruit:

Exotic Location:

Exotic Oriental:

Exotic Tastes:

Expand Your Mind:

Expanded Horizon:

Expanding Galaxy:

Expands Horizons:





Expect The Best:




Expensive Tastes:


Expert Advice:

Expert Appraisal:

Expert Texpert:

Expert Timing:

Expert's Report:


Expiry Date:

Explanatory Note:


Explicitly Vague:

Export Drive:


Express Delivery:

Express Yourself:


Expressive Eyes:

Exquisite Taste:



External Factor:

Extra Dimension:

Extra Extra:

Extra Outlay:

Extra Smooth:

Extra Special:

Extra Special:

Extra Time:







Extravagant Idea:




Exuding Charm:


"exultation" is a literary or Biblical word meaning "a feeling of triumphant elation, jubilation or rejoicing". "Exultant" is the adjective, describing someone who is affected by feelings of exultation.

Eye Contact:

Eye Level:

Eye Of The Storm:

Eye Patch/Eye-Patch/Eyepatch:

Eye Witness:


a person who attracts admiring attention, especially by their physical appearance. "Claire is so pretty and dresses so well she is a real eye-catcher".



Eyeing Up And Down:

Eyes Averted:

Eyes To The Left/ Right:

Eyes Wide Shut:


Fa Finta di Niente:

Fabulous Destiny:

Face The Facts:

Face The Music:

Face To Face:

Face Value:

see description under "At Face Value".

Faces The Fray:


meaning "humourous" and also "inappropriately humorous", so it can have pejorative overtones. It is one of the few words in the English language to have all five vowels in correct alphabetical order.

Facing Destiny:

Facing Facts:

Facing Fate:

Facing Fate:

Facing The Future:


Fact Or Fable:

Fact Or Fiction:


Facts And Figures:

Factual Analysis:

Fade To Grey:

Fads And Trends:

Faint Praise:

Fair And Square:

Fair Chance:

Fair Comment:

Fair Competition:

Fair Criticism:

Fair Deal:

Fair Dinkum:

Fair Exchange:

Fair Game:

Fair Means Or Foul:

Fair Play:

Fair Share:

Fair Shares:

Fair Trade:

Fair Treatment:

Fair Trial:


Fait Accompli:

Faithful Ally:

Faithful Friend:

Fake Tan:

Faking It:

Fall From Favour:

Fall From Grace:

Fall Out Make Up:

Fallacious Truth:

Fallen Angel:

Fallen Icon:

Fallen Leaves:

False Accusation:

False Alarm:

False Allegation:

False Economy:

False Modesty:

False Premise:

False Pretenses:

False Truth:

False Witness:

Fame And Fortune:

Fame At Last:

Familiar Face:

Familiar Ground:

Familiar Refrain:

Family Affair:

Family Allowance:

Family Favourite:

Family Feud:

Family Friend:

Family Friendly:

Family Fun:

Family Heirloom:

Family History:

Family Jewel:

Family Likeness:

Family Matters:

Family Motto:

Family Pack:

Family Reunion:

Family Saying:

Family Scandal:

Family Ties:

Family Tradition:

Family Tree:

Family Values:

Famous For A Day:

Famous Landmark:

Famous Last Words:

Famous One-Liner:

Famous Slogan:

Fan Base:

Fan Mail:

Fan Of Flamenco:

Fan The Flames:

Fan Vaulting:

Fancies A Change:

Fanciful Idea:

Fanciful Notion:


Fancy Dress:

Fancy Free:

Fancy Pants:

Fancy That:

Fans The Flames:

Fantasy Fiction:

Fantasy World:

Far Advanced:

Far And Away:

Far And Wide:

Far Away Long Ago:

Far Be It From Me:

Far Better Off:

Far Better Thing:

Far Cry:

Far Far Away:

Far From Certain:

Far From It:

Far Horizons:

Far Into The Night:

Far-Distant Shore:

Far-Distant Star:

Far-Fetched (Idea/Tale):

Far-Flung Corner:

Far-Flung Empire:

Far-Off Country:

Far-Off Land:

Far-Off Places:




Faraway Look:

Faraway Places:

Farewell Gesture:

Farmer's Wife:

Fashion Trend:

Fashion Victim:

Fast And Furious:

Fast And Loose:

Fast Forward:

Fast Getaway:

Fast Train Coming:



Faster Than Most:


Fat Cat:

Fat Chance:

Fatal Attraction:

Fate Awaits:

Fate Beckons:

Fate Lends A Hand:

Fate Of Nations:

Fated To Succeed:

Fateful Day:

Father Figure:

Fathoms Deep:

Faultless Logic:

Fautless Logic:

Faux Pas:

Favourite Poem:

Favourite Tipple:

Favours The Brave:

Fawlty Towers:

Fay Que Vouldras:

Fear Or Favour:

Fearful Symmetry:

Fearless Foe:


Fearsome Foe:


Feasible Plan:

Feasible Project

Feast Your Eyes:

Feat Of Memory:

Feather Duster:

Feather My Nest:


Feature Film:

Feature Film:


Febrile Activity:

Feckless Friend:


Federal System:


Feeble Excuse:

Feeding Frenzy:

Feeding Time:

Feel Your Way:

Feel-Good Factor:

Feeling Amorous:

Feeling Frisky:

Feeling Groovy:

Feeling Perky:

Feeling The Pinch:

Feeling Virtuous:

Feet And Inches:

Feet Of Clay:

Feet On The Ground:

Feigned Piety:

pretending to be religious. I just like the sound: I admit it does not have much to do with dogs.

Feigns Surprise:

Fell Walker:


when I was in the fourth year at grammar school, in 1967, my timetable for Tuesdays was "French, English, Latin, Latin, English, Maths, Maths", hence "Fellemm". You never know what might inspire you to coin a dog's name! Ah, those far-off, halcyon days! The mornings were great, but the afternoons, execrable. I was the despair of my maths teachers, as they were of me. My detestation of and utter lack of interest in anything mathematical has remained with me all my life. And I couldn't care less, I'm afraid....

Fellow Citizen:

Fellow Creature:

Fellow Feeling:

Fellow Traveller:

Fellows' Garden:

Felt-Tip Pen:



Fertile Crescent:

Fervent Admirer:

Fervent Advocate:

Fervent Apathy:

Fervent Believer:

Fervent Fan:

Fervent Hope:

Festina Lente:

Festive Cheer:

Festive Fun:

Festive Season:

Festive Spirit:

Fetch And Carry:

Fetching Attire:

Fetching Outfit:

Fetching Smile:

Feudal Lord:

Feudal System:

Fever Pitch:

Few Are Chosen:

Few Regrets:

Few Shortcomings:

Fickle Fame:





Fidget Bottom:

Field Day:

Field Of Study:


Fierce Apathy:

Fierce Rivalry:

Fiercely Loyal:

Fiery Character:

Fiery Eloquence:

Fiery Furnace:

Fiery Orator:

Fiery Rhetoric:

Fiery Sky:

Fiery Sunset:

Fifteen Minutes:

Fifth Column:

Fifth Declension:

Fifth Dimension:

Fifth Generation:

Fifth Republic:

Fifties Classic:


Fight For Justice:


Fightful Snob:

Fighting Chance:

Fighting Talk:

Figure Of Fun:

Figure Of Speech:

Filial Duty:


Filioque Dispute:

the theological basis for the unreconciled split between the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches. Never let it be said that the inspiration for a dog's name is on occasion quite astonishing. The basis of this dispute is too technical and irrelevant nowadays for the vast majority of people. For those who are interested, please contact you favourite search engine.

Filling The Gap:

Filling The Void:

Fills The Vacuum:

Film Buff:

Film Buff:

Film Classic:

Film Critic:

Film Footage:

Film Noir:

Film Review:

Filthy Lucre:

Filthy Rich:

Final Approach:

Final Beginnings:

Final Call:

Final Chapter:

Final Curtain:

Final Decision:

Final Demand:

Final Dream:

Final Episode:

Final Fling:

Final Fling:

Final Frontier:

Final Push:

Final Reckoning:

Final Reminder:

Final Score:

Final Showdown:

Final Spurt:

Final Warning:

Final Whistle:

Finals Fortnight:

Finals Week:

Find The Culprit:

Find The Time:

Finders Keepers:

Finds Favour:

Fine Antique:

Fine Art(s):

Fine Detail:

Fine Display:

Fine Distinction:

Fine Drizzle:

Fine Endeavour:

Fine Fettle:

Fine Figure:

Fine Intellect:

Fine Line:

Fine Mind:

Fine Performance:

Fine Prospect:

Fine Tuning:

Fine Words:

Fine-Tooth Comb:

Finely Balanced:

Finely Honed:

Finer Feelings:


Finger Of Blame:

Finger On Buzzer:



Fingers Burnt:

to undergo an unpleasant experience. "I used to dabble on the Stock Exchange till I got my fingers burnt by losing €10 000 in one day!"

Fingers Crossed:

Finished Article:

Finished Product:

Finishes In Style:

Finishing Post:

Finishing Touch:

Finite Number:

Finite Verb:

Finnish Sauna:


Fir Cone:

Fire Brigade:

Fire Escape:

Fire Exit:

Fire On The Water:


Firearms Control:






Fires A Broadside:

Fireside Chair:

Fireside Chat:


Firework Display:

Firm Agreement:

Firm And Resolute:

Firm Belief:

Firm Believer:

Firm But Fair:

Firm Conclusion:

Firm Conviction:

Firm Evidence:

Firm Favourite:

Firm Foundations:

Firm Friend:

Firm Resolve:

Firmly In Favour:

Firmly Rooted:

First Declension:

First Edition:

First Generation:

First Impression:

First In Last Out:

First In Line:

First Love:

First Move:

First Night:

First Out:

First Principles:

First Reform Act:

First Refusal:

First Time Lucky:

First Time Lucky:

First Violin:

First-Rate Mind:

First-Rate Mind:


Fiscal Hassle:

Fiscal Probity:

Fiscal Rectitude:

Fiscal Rigour:

Fish And Chips:

Fish Out Of Water:

Fissile Material:

Fissile Material:

Fit And Feisty:

Fit And Proper:

Fit As A Fiddle:

Fit For Life:

Fit For Purpose:

Fitness Fanatic:

Fitness Fiend.

Fitting Tribute:

Five A Day:

Five-Figure Sum:



Fixed And Focused:

Fixed Grin:

Fixed Purpose:

Fixed Rate:

Fixed Smile:


Flag Unfurled:



Flame Red:

Flanders Fields:


historical slang: in the 19th century, this meant "nonsense", "gibberish", "foolish talk".

Flash Bulb:

Flash Flood:

Flash In The Pan:

Flash Of Genius:

a moment of deep and original thought or ability.

Flash The Cash:


Flashing A Smile:

Flat Out:

Flat Pack:

Flatter My Ego:


Flawed Genius:

Flawed Logic

Flawless Diamond:

Flawless French:

Flawless Gem:

Fleecy Clouds:

Fleet Of Foot:


Fleeting Fashion:

Fleeting Glance:

Fleeting Glimpse:

Flemish Weaver:

Flesh And Blood:

Flexible Hours:

Flexible Rate:

Flick(s) The Switch:

Flicker Of Hope:

Flickering Flame:

Flight Of Fancy:

Flight The Flab:


Flimsy Alibi:

Flimsy Evidence:

Flimsy Excuse:

Flimsy Pretext:

Flippant Remark:


Float My Boat:

Floating On Air:

Floating Voter:

Flood Alert:


Floodlit Pitch:

Floodlit Pitch:

Floral Display:

Florentine Art:


Flotsam And Jetsam:

Flouting The Law:

Flower Power:


Fluent French:

Fluent Speaker:





Fly Away:

Fly Flew Flown:

Fly Me To The Moon:

Fly On The Wall:


Flying Buttress:

Flying Carpet:

Flying Circus:

Flying Colours:

Flying Doctor:

Flying Dragon:

Flying Free:

Flying Leap:

Flying Saucer:

Flying Start:

Flying The Flag:

Flying The Nest:

Foaming Tankard:

Focal Point:

Fog Patch:

Foiled Again:

Folding Money:

bank notes. What else?

Folk Wisdom:

Follow My Lead:

Follow The Crowd:

Follow The Rules:

Follow Your Dream:


Follows Suit:

Follows Through:

Folly To Be Wise:

Fond Farewell:

Fond Memories:

Fond Of Good Fare:

Food For Thought:

Fool's Errand:

Fool's Gold:

Fool's Paradise:

Fooling Around/ About:

Foolproof Plan:

Foolproof Scheme:


Fools And Horses:

Fools Rush In:

Football Coach:

Football Crazy:

a very sad mental condition when a person, frequently grossly overweight and out-of-condition, shows fanatical loyalty to the sport of football or to a particular football team. Greater exertion in cerebral activities is probably the best course of treatment of this futile and usually self-induced malady. My motto is: do it rather than watch others do it.

Football Crazy:

a very sad mental condition when a person, frequently grossly overweight and out-of-condition, shows fanatical loyalty to the sport of football or to a particular football team. Greater exertion in cerebral activities is probably the best course of treatment of this futile and usually self-induced malady. My motto is: do it rather than watch others do it.

Football Mad:



Foots The Bill:

For A Quiet Life:

For A Start:

For All Eternity:

For All I Care:

For All Seasons:

For All Time:

For All To See:

For All We Know:

For And Against:

For Dear Life:

For Display Only:

For Eternity:

For Ever And A Day:

an impossible length of time for which a lover pledges his love to his beloved. Compare with the impossible date, the Twelfth of Never (qv).

For Ever And Ever:

For Ever More:

For Example:

For Good Behaviour:

For Good Measure:

For Good Or Ill:

For Goodness Sake:

For Heaven's Sake:

For Instance:

For Keeps:

For Legal Reasons:

For Life:

For Love or Money:

For Once In My Life:

For Quite A While:

For Real:

For The Better:

For The Birds

For The Fun Of It:

For The Hell Of It:

For The Most Part:

For The Sake Of It:

For The Time Being:

for the moment, temporarily, just for now.

For The Time Being:

for the moment, temporarily, just for now.

For Years To Come:

For Your Eyes Only:

For Your Love:


Forbidden City:

Forbidden Forest:

Forbidden Fruit:

Forbidden Love:

Forbidden Planet:

a successful science fiction film from the fifties, based loosely on Shakespeare's "The Tempest".

Force Field:

Force For Good:

Force For Good:

Force Majeure:

Force Of Habit:

Forced Exile:

Forces It Home:

Ford Every Stream:

Fording The Stream

Fording The Stream:



Foreign Accent:

Foreign Affairs:

Foreign And Proud:

Foreign Body:

Foreign Climes:

Foreign Element:

Foreign Exchange:

Foreign Holiday:

Foreign Lands:

Foreign Language:

Foreign Legion:

Foreign Office:

Foreign Parts:

Foreign Ways:




Forest Canopy:

Forest Clearing:

Forest Fire:

Forest Glade:


Forever Forfeit:

Forever Free:

Forever Linked:

Forever Young:


Forget Agincourt:

Forget The Future:

Forget The Past:

Forget The Rules:

Forging Ahead:

Forging Links:

Forgive Forget:

Form And Content:

Formal Warning:

Forsaken Dreams:

Forsaken Ideals:


Forthright Reply:

Forthright Terms:

Forthright Views:



Fortune Cookie:

Fortune Smiles:

Fortune Smiles:


Forty Winks:


Forward Not Back:

Forward Planning:

Forward Thinking:

Fossil Hunter:

Foster The Arts:

Fought And Won:

Foul Language:

Foul Play:

Fountain Of Youth:

Fountain Pen:

Four Candles:

Four Three Two One:

Four-Figure Sum:

Four-Letter Word:

Four-Wheel Drive:


Fourth Dimension:

Fourth Dimension:

Fourth Estate:

Fowl Language:

another pun: for explanation see "fowl mouthed".


there is a pun involved here: "foul-mouthed" describes people who swear and use vulgar or obscene vocabulary. The word "fowl" is a more literary synonym for a bird, especialy a big one or one that can be eaten. So "fowl-mouthed" conjures anm image of a dog with a bird in its mouth and therefore of a hunting dog (retriever, spaniel, pointer, etc.).





could be for a male dog after one of the greatest presidents the USA has produced, Franklin Roosevelt, 1933-1945 : the only American president to have been elected four times (this is now prohibited by the American Constitution: now a president can be elected to office only twice). But the name could also be used in honour of Aretha Franklin, one of America's greatest singers.

Frantic Dash:

Fraudulent Claim:

Free Agent:

Free And Easy:

Free And Fair:

Free As A Bird:

Free Association:

Free At Last:

Free Choice:

Free Conscience:

Free Expression:

Free Fall:

Free Hand:

Free Lunch:

Free Movement:

Free Of Charge:

Free Press:

Free Range:

Free Rein:

Free Sample:

Free Society:

Free Speech:

Free Spirit:

Free To Choose:

Free To Say No

Free To Say Yes:




Freedom Bound:

Freedom Fighter:

Freedom From Want:

Freedom Of Action:

Freedom Of Choice:

Freedom Of Speech:

Freedom To Choose:

Freedom Today:

Freedom Tomorrow:



Freezing Fog:

French Cafe:

French Château:

French Connexion:

French Cuisine:

French Dressing:

French Kiss:

French Leave:

French Lessons:

French Loaf:

French Pastry:

French Penfriend:

French Polish:

French Riviera:

French Speaker:

Frequent Showers:

Frequent Visitor:

Fresh Air:

Fresh Approach:

Fresh Batch:

Fresh Beginnings:

Fresh Blood:

Fresh Breeze:

Fresh Coffee:

Fresh Ideas:

Fresh Impetus:

Fresh Input:

Fresh Momentum:

Fresh Prince:

Fresh Start:

Fresh-Air Fiend:

Fresh-Air Fiend:

Freshers' Blind:

Freshers' Fair:

Freshly Ground:

said of coffee that has just been ground from the beans and is thus better-tasting than coffee bought already ground. So the theory goes at any rate.......


Freudian Slip:

Friday Night:

Friday On My Mind:

Friday's Child:

Friend And Mentor:

Friend For Life:

Friend From Afar:

Friendly Advice:

Friendly Advice:

Friendly Alien:

Friendly But Firm:

Friendly Gesture:

Friendly Image:

Friendly Match:

Friendly Rivalry:

Friendly Welcome:

Friends Electric.

Friendship Rules:

Fringe Medicine:

Fringe Theatre:

Frivolous Banter:

Frivolous Remark:

Frogpool Manor:


From A Bygone Age:

From Afar:

From An Early Age:

From Day To Day:

taking each day at a time, gradually. Similar expressions: from week to week; from month to month; from year to year.

From End To End:

From Experience:

From First To Last:

From Head To Foot:

From Head To Toe:

From Me To You:

From On High:

From Overseas:

From Stem To Stern:

From The Heart:

From The Hip:

From The Orient:

From The Outset:

From The Pulpit:

From The Rooftops:

From The Start:

From The Top Shelf:

From The Top:

From The Word Go

From Time To Time:

From Top To Bottom:

Front Runner:

Front-Page News:


Frosted Glass:

Frosty Morning:

Frosty Reception:

Frown Upside Down:

a smile of course....

Frozen Assets:

Frozen In Time:


Frugal Abundance:

Frugal Fare:

Frugal Habits:

Frugal Living:

Frugal Returns:

Fruit And Veg:

Fruit Smoothie:


Fruitful Bough:

Fruitful Bough:

Fruitful Outcome:




Fuel Crisis:

Fuel To The Flames:



Full Advantage:

Full Auditorium:

Full Blast:

Full Commitment:

Full Complement:

Full Confession:

Full Contact:

Full Control:

Full Cooperation:

Full Emancipation:

Full Employment:

Full Endorsement:

Full Explanation:

Full Expression:

Full Extent:

Full Fathom Five:

Full Flagon:

Full Frontal:

Full House:

Full Immersion:

Full Inquiry:

Full Integration:

Full Makeover:

Full Measure:

Full Metal Jacket:

Full Moon:

Full Of Attitude:

Full Of Goodies:

Full Of Promise:

Full Of Surprises:

Full Of Whimsy:

Full Potential:

Full Range:

Full Reappraisal:

Full Regalia:

Full Repertoire:

Full Report:

Full Restitution:

Full Scope:

Full Speed Ahead:

Full Steam Ahead:

Full Stop:

Full Strength:

Full Tank:

Full To Bursting:

Full To The Brim:


Full-Time Work:

Fully Automatic:

Fully Committed:

Fully Compatible:

Fully Conscious:

Fully Covered:

Fully Documented:

Fully Empowered:

Fully Entitled:

Fully Equipped:

Fully Fashioned:

Fully Fledged:

Fully Formed:

Fully Functional:

Fully Informed:

Fully Integrated:

Fully Literate:

Fully Motivated:

Fully Qualified:

Fully Rounded:

Fully Trained:

Fully Updated:


Fulness Of Time:

Fulsome Praise:

Fun And Frolics:

Fun And Games:

Fun And Laughter:

Fun Factory:

Fun In High Places:

Fun In The Sun:

Fun To Be With:



Funk To Funky

Funky Beat:

Funky Fiesta:

Funky Monkey:

another Brussels pub where I used to attend the Amnesty International quiz every month. Great times!


Funny Bone:

Funny For Money:

someone who is paid to be humorous, a professional comedian for example.

Funny Ha-Ha:

Funny Money:

Funny Peculiar:

Furious Apathy:

Furious Applause:

Furrowed Brow:

Furry Friend:

Further Debate:

Further Details:

Further Notice:

Further Reading:


Furtive Glance(s):

Fuss And Bother:

Fuss Over Nothing:

Futile Gesture:

Futile Objection:

Futile Protest:

Future Assured:

Future Assured:

Future Dividends:

Future Foreseen:

Future Foretold:

Future In Focus:

Future Past:

Future Perfect:

Future Project:

Future Prospects:

Future Reference:

Fuzzy Logic

Fêted Far And Wide:




Gaining Currency:

Gaining Ground:

Gains Ascendancy:

Gains Experience:

Galaxy Defender:

Gale Force:

Gallia est divisa:

Gallic Charm:

Gallic Shrug:

Galumphing Back:

Game For A Laugh:

Game Of Two Halves:

Game Over:

Game Set And Match:

Gap Year:

Garbled Message:

Garden Of Delight:

Garden Of Eden:

Garden Sprinkler:

Garden Sprinkler:


Garlic And Onions:

Garners Support:


Gasping For More:

Gathering Storm:

Gathers No Moss:




the study of comedy and laughter. Cheer up, you miserable b.......!


Gender Gap:

General Amnesty:

General Election:

General Interest:

General Strike:



Generation Game:

Generation Gap:

Generous Avarice:

Generous Gesture:

Generous Gift

Generous Heart:

Generous Helping:

Generous Nature:

Generous Portion:

Generous Praise:

Generous Spirit:

Generous Streak:

Generous Tribute:

Genial Company:

Genius At Work:

Gentian Blue:


I have entered this name as neutral because it is obviously a flower and as such might suit a bitch puppy. On the other hand, there is a St Gentian who is a man. he was from near Amiens in northern France and is associated with St Victoric(us) and St Fuscian. He lived in the third century.

Gentle Breeze:

Gentle By Nature:

Gentle Coaxing:

Gentle Guardian:

Gentle Persuasion:

Gentle Prompting:

Gentle Reader:

Gentle Reminder:

Gentle Satire:

Gentle Winter:

Gently Does It:

Gently Rolling:

Gently Seething:


Genuine Article:

Genuine Empathy:

Genuine Fake:

Genuine Hope:

Genuine Impostor:

Genuine Picasso:

Genuine Sympathy:

Genuinely Bogus:

Georgian Terrace:

German Precision:




Gesture Politics:

Gesture To My Boss:

Get A Grip:

Get A Life:

Get Back:

Get Into The Swing:

Get Involved:

Get Lucky:

Get My Drift:

Get On With It:

Get Out And Push:

Get Out And Vote:

Get Out And Walk:

Get Over It:

Get Real:

Get Up And Go:

Get Used To It:

Get With It:

Get Your Skates On:

Get-Away Car:


Gets A Move On:

Gets Down To Work:

Gets Even:

Gets Into Shape:

Gets It Together:

Gets Noticed:

Gets Off Lightly:

Gets Off Scot Free

Gets On With It:

Gets Stuck In:

Gets The Go-Ahead:

Gets The Job Done:

Gets The Thumbs-Up:

Gets To The Point:

Getting Along Fine:

Getting By:

Getting Involved:

Getting It Right:

Getting Stuck In:

Getting There:

Getting To Grips:

Getting Underway:

Getting Uppity:

Getting Used To It:

Ghetto Rising:


Ghost Story:

Ghost Writer:


Ghostly Presence:

Ghostly Tale:

Gift Horse:

Gift Of The Gab:

Gifted Amateur:

Gifted Linguist:

Gifted Scholar:


Gimme Shelter:

Gin And Tonic:

Ginger Ale:

Ginger Beer:

Ginger Ninja:

Ginger Nut



Give And Take:

Give It A Go:

Give It A Rest:

Give It A Try:

Give It A Whirl:

Give Me A Break:

Give Me A Buzz:

Give Me An Inch:

Give Me An Inch:

Give Me Five:

Give Me My Due:

Give Me Strength:

Give Me The Night:

Give No Quarter:

Give Or Take A Few:

Give The Go-Ahead:

Give Up The Day Job:

Give Us A Clue:

Given The Chance:

Gives Thanks:

Gives Voice:

Giving It A Go:

Giving It My All:

Giz A Squiz:

New Zealand slang, meaning (apparently): Let me have a look. In colloquial English, someone might use "us" instead of "me" in an imperative sentence: "Hold this for us, will you?" meaning "Hold this for me, will you?".The true meaning is usually obvious form the context.

Glad All Over:

Glad Tidings:

Glad To Lend A Hand:

Glad To Meet You:

Glad To Oblige:

Glam Rock(er):

Glaring Omission:


Glass Ceiling:

Glass Of Bubbly:

Glass Onion:


a denizen of Glasgow.



Glib Comment:

Glib Remark:

Glimmer Of Hope:

Glint Of Gold:

Glittering Prize:

Global Celebrity:

Global Economy:

Global Fame:

Global Village:

Global Warming:

Gloomy Sunday:

Glorious Debut:

Glorious Reign:

Glorious Summer:

Glorious Sunset:

Glory Be:

Glossy Magazine:

Glottal Stop:

Glow Of Pride:


Glowing Embers:

Glowing Eulogy:

Glowing Praise:

Glowing Tribute:

Gnashing Of Teeth:

Go Ahead:

Go And Mingle:

Go Easy:

Go For It:

Go For The Burn:

Go Go Go:

Go No Farther:

Go Not Gentle:

Go Now:

Go On Regardless:

Go The Extra Mile:

Go Went Gone:

Go With The Flow:




Goes Aboard:

Goes All Out:

Goes Ashore:

Goes Ballistic:

Goes Before A Fall:

Goes Decimal:

Goes Digital:

Goes Dutch:

Goes East:

Goes Forth:

Goes Global:

Goes It Alone:

Goes Nationwide:

Goes Native:

"to go native" is used, particularly with reference to a diplomat or ex pat, who adopts local customs and ways while abandoning those of his native country. Regrettably almost always used in British English with implicit condemnation.

Goes Off Bang:

"explodes", like a balloon or a firework.

Goes One Better:

Goes Overboard:

Goes The Distance:

Goes The Whole Hog:

Goes To Hollywood:

Goes Walkabout:

Goes West:

Goes Wild:

Goes With A Swing:

Goes/Going Into Exile:

Going All The Way:

Going Back:

Going By Instinct:

Going Concern:

Going Flat Out:

Going For Gold:

Going Global:

Going Going Gone:

Going Great Guns:

Going Green:

Going Halves:

Going On Instinct:

Going One Better:

Going Overseas:

Going Places:

Going Solo:

Going Steady:

Going Swimmingly:

Going To Extremes:

Going To Not Gonna:

Going To Plan:

Going To The Polls:

Going Too Far:

Going Up In Flames:

Gold And Silver:

Gold Blend:

Gold Braid:

Gold Brocade: