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When refrerring to Canis lupus familiaris, what word is better to use, dog or hound? Wikipedia translates it as dog, but I've heard also the word hound in many contexts, and that version is a lot easier for me to remember because it resembles the German hund.

I think the word hound is older and Germanic in origin, but it was later replaced by dog, and now it's used mostly in poetry expressions such as hounds of hell. Am I right?

  • I think a hound is a dog of hunting breeds. It's hard to call a York "hound"... – SF. Jan 26 '13 at 9:01
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Use dog.

Hound has a very specific connotation of being a hunting dog, and unless you're specifically referring to one, dog is the general term. In addition, by virtue of being the general term, dog is much more common, which only further emphasizes how unusual it is to hear hound except outside the context of hunting dogs.

I think the word hound is older and has Germanic origin, but it was later replaced by the dog, and now it's used most in poetry expressions such as hounds of hell. Am I right?

Both hound and dog come from Proto-Germanic through Old and Middle English, and Google NGrams suggests that with the exception of a few years around 1700, dog has been more common since at least 1500. Data is sparse the further you go back in time, though, so I can't say for certain how true this is.

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2

Use hound when you're being an eighteenth century upper-class country gentleman.

Use dog otherwise.

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  • 3
    Also, if you want to "release the...", you release the hounds instead of the dogs. – cpast Dec 7 '14 at 3:43
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    @cpast Indeed; with dogs, of course what you do is "let out" – KRyan Dec 7 '14 at 4:29

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