• WordNet 3.6
    • adj hangdog frightened into submission or compliance
    • adj hangdog showing a sense of guilt "a guilty look","the hangdog and shamefaced air of the retreating enemy"- Eric Linklater"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Hangdog A base, degraded person; a sneak; a gallows bird.
    • a Hangdog Low; sneaking; ashamed. "The poor colonel went out of the room with a hangdog look."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n hangdog A degraded and sneaking fellow, fit only to be a hangman of dogs.
    • hangdog Of or pertaining to such a person; having a base or sneaking appearance: as, a hangdog look or gait.
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Hangdog expression - A hangdog expression is one where the person's showing their emotions very clearly, maybe a little too clearly for your liking. It's that mixture of misery and self-pity that is similar to a dog when it's trying to get something it wants but daren't take without permission.


In literature:

Look a little brisker, man, and not so hangdog like!
"The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby" by Charles Dickens
After all, it was quite likely; she remembered such things, and then that Marechal had a dirty, hangdog look.
"Nana, The Miller's Daughter, Captain Burle, Death of Olivier Becaille" by Emile Zola
The stowaway's face showed some embarrassment, but not at all the usual hangdog mien of such wastrels.
"Where the Blue Begins" by Christopher Morley
David had shrunk back into the corner, with a white hangdog look, and said nothing.
"The History of David Grieve" by Mrs. Humphry Ward
There was no lowering of the eyelids when they confessed; no hangdog look about the mouth.
"The Underdog" by F. Hopkinson Smith
Something in his hangdog look warned Miss Beekman that she was being betrayed, but before she could answer Mr. Tutt was on his feet.
"By Advice of Counsel" by Arthur Train
If ever I saw two mortified, hangdog-looking men, they were these two as they took their way home.
"A Confederate Girl's Diary" by Sarah Margan Dawson
See those hangdog-looking fellows slouching before us?
"Sea-Dogs All!" by Tom Bevan
They say he couldn't look such a miserable, hangdog wretch for nothing.
"A Sheaf of Corn" by Mary E. Mann
I don't want to be knifed by a set o' hangdog rubbish from all parts o' the world.
"Hunting the Skipper" by George Manville Fenn

In news:

Costumed by his mother as a hot dog with bun, Oscar the dachshund goes from hangdog to top dog in what PW's starred review called a ""pun-o-rama.
FX's 'Wilfred's' bite is worse than his snark, but hangdog 'Louie' is sublime.
We miss your deadpan humor, your hangdog demeanor, your blank stares.
" Wreck -It Ralph's" Ralph is voiced with hangdog perfection by John C Reilly.