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do·gie also do·gy (dōgē)
Share:
n. pl. do·gies
Western US
A stray or motherless calf.

[Origin unknown.]

Word History: In the language of the American West, a stray or motherless calf is known as a dogie. The origin of this word remains uncertain, but Ramon F. Adams, the author of numerous works on western Americana and a cowboy himself, offered one possible etymology for dogie in his book Western Words. During the 1880s, when a series of harsh winters left large numbers of orphaned calves, the little calves, weaned too early, were unable to digest coarse range grass, and their swollen bellies "very much resembled a batch of sourdough carried in a sack." Such a calf was referred to as dough-guts. The term, altered to dogie according to Adams, "has been used ever since throughout cattleland to refer to a pot-gutted orphan calf." Another possibility is that dogie is an alteration of Spanish dogal, "lariat." Still another is that it is simply a variant pronunciation of doggie.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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