Is That dog don't hunt an American slang expression? What does it mean exactly and where does it originate? If possible, please give some examples.
According to the Phrase Finder:
You use the phrase to describe an idea which won't work. It's a prediction of failure.
That dog won't hunt is a US phrase meaning something won't fulfil its intended purpose, or a plan or scheme will fail.
It is southern US slang, originally that old dog won't hunt meaning something just isn't going to happen.
The Facts on File Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer says:
The Facts On File Dictionary of American Regionalisms by Robert Hendrickson says:
This longer version appears in a summary of American Speech: Volume 14 from 1939:
A good example of an ever longer version appears in the 1961 The Gay Place: Being Three Related Novels by Billy Lee Brammer, from Texas, quoting a governor:
Brammer began writing the novel whilst working for Texas senator Lyndon Baines Johnson.
A summary of a 1965 Automobile Cases says:
It also appears in Jesse Hill Ford's 1965 novel The Liberation of Lord Byron Jones, set in Tennessee:
That dog won't hunt was further popularised in US political rhetoric of the 1970s, especially by Texan and former president Lyndon B. Johnson.
protected by Hugo Jun 5 '12 at 7:22
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