Hot dog

Origin of: Hot dog

Hot dog

This famous American snack, a hot, Frankfurter type sausage in a long bread roll has spread all over the world. The name first made its appearance in the Yale Record 19th October 1895. Thus Yale students, through their magazine, can lay claim to coining the term. Prior to this, common slang for sausage in America was dog for two reasons. Firstly, because of the resemblance of the dachshund to a frankfurter, hence sausage dog, and secondly, because of the unsavoury practice of some sausage makers who would use inferior or dog meat. The street-vending carts of sausage sellers in America were in fact called dog wagons for a while before the quality of sausages improved. The first street vendors of hot dogs were German or Austrian immigrants because their Frankfurter or Vienna type sausages were best suited to this form of street food. As a verb, to hot dog is to do something in a spectacular or skilful manner and this usage dates from the early 20th century but its connection to the comestible is not clear. Hot dog! as an exclamation of surprise or approval is also recorded in America at around the same time. Hot-dogging was revived in 1960s surfer slang for spectacular surfing rides. Towards the end of the 20th century, to hot dog in tennis is to make a spectacular shot in between one’s legs while running backwards.