To be gay-dogging (Meaning)

James Brandon

Senior Member
English + French - UK
In "Lady Chatterley's Lover", by D H Lawrence, which I was re-reading recently, I came across the expression "to be gay-dogging". From the context, it seems to mean "to be shilly-shallying", but it is not absolutely clear.

Clearly, "gay" and "dogging" have sexual connotations in today's English, and a web search throws up references to homosexual sex and related matters. There is a fair bit of sex in the novel, as we know, although not gay one, but the paragraph in question does not seem to refer to sex at all...

I am curious to know what is meant. Thanks.

For those who would not be familiar with the - famous - novel:
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    A gay dog is indeed a bit of a playboy - gay dog n. a man given to revelling or self-indulgence (OED).
    So, gay-dogging is a presumed verb formed from the noun.

    James Brandon

    Senior Member
    English + French - UK
    Interesting and probably correct. In my edition of the book (Penguin, p140), it refers to a Scotsman who likes the company of women - an aristocrat.

    Quote: "Sir Malcom was thinking of returning to his wife in Yorkshire. He was due back the first week in July [...]. But he was still gay-dogging and deferring."

    The term has much cruder overtones in today's English, to say the least!:D

    I knew 'gay dog' as a noun but simply did not make the link to 'to be gay-dogging' as a verb...
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