Idiom: Wag the dog
Meaning: To 'wag the dog' means to purposely divert attention from what would otherwise be of greater importance, to something else of lesser significance. By doing so, the lesser-significant event is catapulted into the limelight, drowning proper attention to what was originally the more important issue.
Country: International English |
Subject Area: Animals |
Usage Type: Both or All Words Used
The expression comes from the saying that 'a dog is smarter than its tail', but if the tail were smarter, then the tail would 'wag the dog'. The expression 'wag the dog' was elaborately used as theme of the movie. 'Wag the Dog', a 1997 film starring Robert de Niro and Dustin Hoffman, produced and directed by Barry Levinson.
All idioms have been editorially reviewed, and submitted idioms may have been edited for correctness and completeness.
Idiom eBooks from UsingEnglish.com
Buy our lists of British English, American English and Animal idioms in PDF format. They're perfect to use offline for reference or for use in class!
If you have a question about idioms, ask us about it in our Idioms Discussion Forum.
If you know of an idiom that you would like to be listed here, please use our online form to suggest an idiom.
- View examples in Google: Wag the dog
- Idiom Quizzes