Every dog has it’s day

So where did the saying “Every dog has it’s day” or “Every dog has his day” come from?  A bit of research finds the phrase is over 450 years old. It became popularized from Hamlet by William Shakespeare in the early 1600’s.  However, there are various forms of it that originated earlier.

The meaning of the quote in our current era, “Every dog has its day or every dog has his day”  is very simple. It means everyone gets a chance eventually; or that everyone is successful during some period in their life.

Here is a brief history on the famous quote we recite today:
A dogge hath a day.
[1545 R. Taverner tr. Erasmus’ Adages (ed. 2) 63]

Let Hercules himself do what he may, The cat will mew, and dog will have his day.
[1600-1 Shakespeare Hamlet v. i. 286]

s.v. Fevrier, Euerie dog hath his day.
[1611 R. Cotgrave Dict. French & English]

Dogs, ye have had your day; ye fear’d no more Ulysses vengeful from the Trojan shore.
[1726 Pope Odyssey V. xxii.]

How changed for Marat, lifted from his dark cellar!‥All dogs have their day; even rabid dogs.
[1837 Carlyle French Revolution III. i. i.]

Young blood must have its course, lad, And every dog his day.
[1863 C. Kingsley Water Babies ii.]

‘She could be his sister.’ ‘No way—not with a face like that.’ ‘Well, every dog deserves his day.’
[1978 ‘M. Craig’ Were He Stranger x.]

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