Dog's Bollocks : Phrases
Excellent - the absolute apex. In other contexts the word bollocks (meaning testicles) has a negative connotation. For example:
- 'that's bollocks' -> 'that's rubbish'
- 'give him a bollocking' -> 'chastise him'
- 'He dropped a bollock' -> 'he made a mistake'
The reasons why the 'dog's bollocks' are considered to be the top of the tree aren't clear. Dogs do enjoy licking them of course, but there's no evidence that links the coining of this phrase to that. It is most likely that this is just a nonsense phrase, coined because it sounds good. In that, it would join a long list of earlier nonsense phrases, e.g. 'the cat's pyjamas', 'the bee's knees' etc.
The word bollocks, meaning testicles has been part of the language since the 18th century, but didn't become used to mean nonsense until the early 20th century. The 'dog's bollocks' seems to have originated in Britain in the late 1980s. At that time the scurrilous magazine Viz used the term frequently. For example, they used it in the title of an issue in 1989:
"Viz: the dog's bollocks: the best of issues 26 to 31."
It isn't clear that that is the origin - Viz's writer's frequently latched on to any vaguely obscene street slang and printed it.
'Bollocks' has long had street cred as a swearword amongst the English young. The Sex Pistols' 1977 album Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols, no doubt brought the word to greater prominence.
Since the phrase came into use some alternatives have emerged - 'the pooches privates' and, more successfully, the mutt's nuts.
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