In the doghouse - Idiom of the Week

In the doghouse - Idiom of the Week

As defined in Linda and Roger Flavell’s book Dictionary of Idioms and Their Origins, to be “in the doghouse” means “to be in disgrace” (page 102).


Raj is really in the doghouse with his boss. He never meets deadlines and showed up late for meetings twice this week. He just can’t seem to stay out of trouble.


This idiom has a predominately American history, with the earliest written record of this idiom being in the 1930’s-40s. If you’ve ever read JM Barrie’s Peter Pan (1904), you’ll be able to understand this idiom in the literary sense. Here, the Darling kids are watched over and cared for by their family dog, Nana. Their father, Mr. Darling, gets jealous of his kids’ love and affinity for Nana, so he ties her up in the yard. At this point in the story, Peter Pan comes, teaches the children to fly, and takes them to visit “Never Land.” While the kids are away for an extended period of time, Mr. Darling begins to feel guilty and blames himself for their being gone, because he chained Nana up. Because of this guilt, Mr. Darling goes to live in Nana’s kennel, swearing he wouldn’t leave the kennel until his kids came home.