hangdog

A hangdog look is one that betrays a feeling of shame, embarrassment, or fear. Your hangdog expression after sneaking a whoopee cushion onto your teacher's chair is a dead giveaway that you're guilty.

Use the adjective hangdog to describe someone's cowering appearance or the sheepish look on her face. You might have a hangdog look if you're afraid of getting in trouble, or if you regret your actions. The now-obsolete root noun hang-dog was used in the 17th century to mean "a despicable, low person," or someone who's "only fit to hang a dog," or sometimes "only fit to be hung (like a dog)."

Definitions of hangdog
  1. adjective
    frightened into submission or compliance
    Synonyms:
    afraid
    filled with fear or apprehension
  2. adjective
    showing a sense of guilt
    “"the hangdog and shamefaced air of the retreating enemy"- Eric Linklater”
    synonyms: guilty, shamed, shamefaced
    ashamed
    feeling shame or guilt or embarrassment or remorse
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