The internet can sometimes be a terrifying place — but occasionally, it can also be a glorious one, and the dictionary just gave us a solid reminder of why: Merriam-Webster tweeted about “doggos,” and Twitter’s response to the tweet has subsequently filled our timelines with a wide variety of very, very good boys and girls. It is truly delightful, and exactly what a low-key, post-holiday week needs. Or, y’know, what the final few days of 2017 needs, because good gravy, this year has been rough.
On Dec. 27, the venerable dictionary’s Twitter handle launched a message out into the universe that read simply, “Doggos.” Attached to the tweet was a blog post for the Merriam-Webster website’s “Words We’re Watching” feature, a regular column that charts trending words and their origins — and, it turns out, “doggo” goes back much further than many probably know. Although the word only began to pick up steam as a slang term for dogs in recent years — Know Your Meme dates its first notable internet mention back to 2014 — another meaning has its origins in the late 19th century: “To lie doggo was to stay hidden or to keep secret: to fly under the radar,” wrote Merriam-Webster.
The saying was apparently popularized by Rudyard Kipling — although we don’t really know why “doggo” was chosen as the phrases key word in the first place. “Perhaps the phrase was meant to evoke the light sleep of dogs,”Merriam-Webster’s “Words We’re Watching” post on the word speculates. “What we do know is that the word itself does go back to dog, and is probably the word dog with the noun suffix -o, meaning ‘one that is, has the qualities of, or is associated with.’”
In any event, “doggo” went mainstream as a term for good puppers over the past two years or so, thanks in no small part to the We Rate Dogs Twitter account; as such, it’s not all that surprising that a dictionary of note would start keeping an eye on it. However, not even Merriam-Webster — whose social media team has become well-known for its viral prowess — could have predicted the response to their tweet about “doggos”:
…Or maybe they could have, since the internet loves nothing better than a good doggo. Twitter users came out of the proverbial woodwork to offer forth their canine pals (and some related pets) as prime examples of exactly what a doggo should be, and honestly, it is the best way I can think of to send out 2017. It has been a garbage fire year, and although a cuddly pet obviously won’t fix it, a little doggo snuggling can help you feel a bit better in the meantime.
Here are just a few of the puppers currently flooding Twitter, thanks to Merriam-Webster’s extremely well-timed tweet: