Make Your Editor Cry: Dog-eared dog world (or) Doggy-dog world vs. Dog-eat-dog world

Make Your Editor Cry: Dog-eared dog world (or) Doggy-dog world vs. Dog-eat-dog world

The intent of the idiom is to depict the secular fallen world in which we live as brutal and cannibalistic.

This one makes me dog tired. To avoid embarrassment, unless you’re Snoop Dogg and your career depends on making endless dog puns, you’ll probably not want to be the one “who let the dogs out” and get this one right.

To dog-ear a page is to bend down the upper or lower corner of the page to make a little triangular fold that stands out as a negative space when the book is closed. Readers might dog-ear paperback novels when they don’t have a bookmark handy. Students used to routinely dog-ear pages of textbooks before the advent of Post-it Notes. The result is that the book can end up looking a little shabby and used but probably not brutal or cannibalistic.

Likewise, when you’re describing the brutal and cannibalistic nature of the secular fallen world, you probably don’t want to refer to it as if it were some canine dominated planet like a “doggy-dog” world.

The correct expression is that we live in a “dog-eat-dog world.”

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