What is the first known use of the term "cone of shame"?

This refers to the plastic cone affixed around dog's necks when they have had a procedure or medical condition.

Wikipedia fails to shed any light and limits itself to saying

Also known as an Elizabethan collar, E-Collar, Buster collar or pet cone, (sometimes humorously called a pet lamp-shade, pet radar dish, dog-saver, or cone of shame)

sad looking Rough Collie wearing an E-collar

Image source

  • Not just for dogs BTW, almost any mammal might wear one. One of my cats has had to wear one on three occasions, and I've seen them on rabbits, guinea pigs, and ferrets too (though it doesn't work very well for ferrets). – Austin Hemmelgarn Nov 16 at 18:44
  • @DanBron et al.: Thank you for your effort. Please avoid discussion, debate, or giving answers in comments. The comment thread is reserved for helping to improve the post: friendly clarifying questions, suggestions for improving the question, relevant but transient information, and explanations of your actions. A welcoming place for discussion of posts (or anything else) is our English Language & Usage Chat. – MetaEd Nov 17 at 18:16
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    @MetaEd No problem deleting comments. And I know you were only CVer #5, but could you and the other CVers consider the "research" requirement for this particular Q? Because looking up early attestations is a specialist task, and outside of including "I found this in Up! in 2009!", which doesn't answer the Q, Id on't know what other research we could have expected of the OP. – Dan Bron Nov 17 at 18:18
  • @DanBron I take your point. SE requires that the asker make a substantial effort to find an answer and share the results. As you point out, sometimes that's going to be a fruitless effort. But a big part of the rationale is to weed out questions that are "just mindless social fun", also expressed in the help center as "you should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face." A substantial research effort is helpful to people trying to answer the question, but it's also a practical demonstration that the asker is committed to the question. – MetaEd Nov 17 at 18:34
  • @DanBron In this question I don't even see that the asker tried a Google search and reported the results. Surely we can reasonably expect that much prior effort. – MetaEd Nov 17 at 18:35

I found a reference that predates the Up movie by a good eight years, although I'm sure there must be older usages out there somewhere.

In a 2001 Usenet post to the alt.fashion newsgroup, user Michele317 says:

on a fashion note, he's refusing to wear what the vet calls an 'elizabethan collar' and what i call 'the cone of shame': that plastic lampshade thing. i took him to the vet yesterday and found out his runny eye was due to a tiny scratch in his cornea. i decorated the cone with stickers, and removed the gauze tie and replaced it with a jaunty ribbon, but all to no avail. and a massive thanks to everyone who told me dog accessory websites... so much cute stuff out there!

According to wikipedia and knowyoumeme.com, the term was first used in the movie "up."


The 2009 animated film Up coined the colloquial name "cone of shame" for the collars, which feature as a minor plot point.

And knowyourmeme.com:

The Cone of Shame is a meme that originates from the 2009 Pixar movie UP. In it, a golden retriever by the name of Dug is placed in a medical device called an Elizabethian Collar as a punishment by his pack.

  • Yep, I was remembering it from a movie, and "Up" was likely the one. (And, of course, "cone of silence" comes from the TV show "Get Smart".) – Hot Licks Nov 16 at 16:57

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