Where it’s found: King John, Act II Scene I
How it’s used:
BASTARD: Here’s a large mouth, indeed,
That spits forth death and mountains, rocks and seas,
Talks as familiarly of roaring lions
As maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs!
Where it comes from: As an ardent believer that puppies make all things better, I was quite pleased to see that Shakespeare had in fact coined the term “puppy-dog.”
In any case, the word puppy has an interesting etymology. Puppy came from a Middle French word poupeé, meaning “doll” or “toy.” It’s also the root of the term puppet. Before puppy came around, most young dogs were called whelps. [source]
The origin of the word dog is kind of a mystery. It comes from an Old English word dogca, which ended up replacing hound. (If you watch the BBC series Sherlock, in last week’s episode Sherlock comments on how strange it is when a character calls a dog a “hound.”) Dogca in particular referred to one specific breed of dog; nobody’s quite sure how it came to refer to all breeds of dogs. [source]
So next time you’re playing with man’s best friend, remember you have Shakespeare to thank for part of what makes it adorable.