The word “hot dog” is a is an interesting one with several different meanings. Most commonly, it is another word for a frankfurter or wiener. Frankfurter, by the way, means “from Frankfurt.” Frankfurt is a city in Germany. Similarly, wiener means “from Vienna.” Vienna is a city in Austria. So, the words frankfurter and wiener are short for Frankfurt sausage and Vienna sausage.
But “hot dog” also has other meanings. You can describe an athlete – especially a surfer or skier – who is a bit of a show-off as a hot dog.
By the late 1800s, the word “hot dog,” in addition to meaning a frankfurter, also became a slang expression that people used to show they were excited. In other words, saying “hot dog!” means the same thing as saying “oh boy!” or “excellent!” Not too long after that, in the 1920’s, the phase was extended as “hot diggity dog” as a way of showing even more excitement.
When I heard this phrase recently, it occurred to me that dogs often like to dig holes in the garden or lawn, and that all that digging might cause them to get pretty hot, which is where the idea for this poem came from.
My Dog Likes to Dig
My dog likes to dig, making holes in our lawn.
He digs every morning beginning at dawn.
He digs like a maniac all afternoon,
and even at night by the light of the moon.
I wish he would stop but he’s out of control,
and works up a sweat digging hole after hole.
He’s fevered and frenzied. He’s hot as can be.
His temperature’s rising degree by degree.
His workout from digging is clearly extreme.
He’s sizzling. He’s scorching. He’s starting to steam.
I wish I had gotten a fish or a frog.
Instead I just have this hot diggity dog.