Where Does the Term ‘Double Dog Dare’ Come From?

You needn’t have been on the getting finish of a double (or triple) pet dog dare to realize its implications for any self-respecting 20th-century schoolchild. All it definitely usually takes is one viewing of 1983’s A Xmas Story.

In the film, most likely set in 1939, Ralphie watches in horror as his friend Flick valiantly resists a double dare and then a double pet dare in advance of lastly caving to the force of the dreaded triple canine dare. (The dare itself is for Flick to lick a frozen flagpole, with disastrous but not altogether surprising effects for his tongue.)

“The exact trade and nuance of phrase in this ritual is pretty critical,” an adult Ralphie narrates around the motion.

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It’s not challenging to guess why double acquired additional to dare in this age-old schoolyard custom made. It immediately heightens the situation—and the peer pressure—without truly altering the stakes on their own. But what do dogs have to do with it?

Regretably, no person genuinely understands. What we do know is that youngsters have been double puppy daring each and every other at least due to the fact the late 19th century. On his blog The Big Apple, Barry Popik unearthed a number of references to double dog dare from the 1890s. Just one of them will come from the 1896 ebook The Baby and Childhood in Folks-Assumed, in which Alexander Francis Chamberlain stories a particular “scale of challenging” applied by children in Kentucky:

“I dare you I puppy dare you I double pet dare you. I dare you I black pet dare you I double black dog dare you.”

Pet does have a couple of definitions that aren’t absolutely out of move with the connotation of the phrase. It can signify to hold at a little something or pursue anyone persistently and you may well in truth truly feel a little bit hounded if your playground rival hits you with a progression of double and triple dog dares following you’ve refused a typical 1. Puppy has also extensive been employed as a stand-in oath for God and damn (independently). Irrespective of whether 19th-century young ones have been thinking about the lexical background of the phrase dog when they commenced issuing double dog dares is anyone’s guess. It is feasible, as Michael Quinion posited on his Earth Vast Words blog site, that it just sounded good.

“Where the dogs arrive in I’m not at all certain, apart from that canine is a great strong word, with lots of probably disparaging undertones, whose alliteration ought to have manufactured it specifically desirable,” he wrote.

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