In 1906 cartoonist T.A. Dorgan penned a drawing of a dachshund inside an elongated bun. Dorgan didn’t know how to spell "dachshund," so he wrote the term "hot dog"
Hot dog has an amusing etymology. The cartoonist T.A. "Tad" Dorgan sketched a dachshund in an elongated bun in the early part of this century, and the term hot dog was born.
Origins: The notion that one of the original American fast foods, a sausage inside a bun (also known as a frankfurter, a wiener, or a red hot) was rechristened the
On a chilly April day, concessionaire Harry Stevens (the company he founded is still in business) was losing money trying to sell ice cream and cold soda. He sent his salesmen out to buy up all the "dachshund" sausages they could find, along with rolls to put them in.
Soon his vendors were selling hot dogs from portable hot-water tanks, shouting "They're red hot! Get your dachshund sausages while they're red hot."
Hearst Newspapers cartoonist Tad Dorgan, working on deadline and short on ideas, observed the vendors and hastily drew a cartoon of barking dachshund sausages nestled in their rolls. Not sure how to spell "dachshund," he simply scrawled the words
His drawing became a hit, and so did the hot dog's connection with baseball. So, for want of a dictionary, an American icon was born.
Jokes about sausages being made from dogs (and dachshunds looking like sausages) have been around for hundreds of years, of course. The term
The 5 October 1895 edition of the Yale Record included a poem about "The Kennel Club," a popular campus lunch wagon which sold sausages in buns:
"'Tis dogs' delight to bark and bite,"
Thus does the adage run.
But I delight to bite the dog
When placed inside a bun.
By the early twentieth century — about the time T.A. Dorgan was supposedly "inventing" the term —
Last updated: 13 July 2007
Barnhart, David K. and Allan A. Metcalf. America in So Many Words. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997. ISBN 0-395-86020-2 (p. 192). Solomon, Judith H. "Testers Add Their Own Special Touches to Franks." The Detroit News. 3 June 1999. Take Our Word For It. "Words to the Wise." http://www.takeourword.com. 9 August 1999.