C1/C2 Idiom A dog and pony show

a picture of a pony and a white dog performing

If somebody tells you that an event was a dog and pony show, what information are they giving you about it? Was it amazing? Was it a real drag? Take the quiz to find out.

Created by blogdeserena

A dog and pony show

Idiom 'A dog and pony show'



'If somebody tells you that an event they attended was a dog and pony show, they are actually saying that ... 

The idiom “a dog and pony show” originated in the entertainment industry, specifically in circus and vaudeville performances. It refers to a small-scale, often exaggerated or over-the-top presentation that is intended to impress or distract, but lacks depth or substance. Just like a dog and pony show in a circus, it may feature trained animals performing tricks or a flashy display meant to captivate the audience. It is commonly used to describe an event or presentation that is more showmanship than substance.

This idiom “dog and pony show” is used metaphorically to describe events that prioritize showmanship and superficiality over substance. Like when in the entertainment industry glitz and glamour is prioritized over genuine talent or when the focus of an event is more about extravagant performances rather than the merits of the people taking part in the event.

Here are some examples:

“Don’t be fooled by all the fancy decorations and colorful banners. The product demonstration was just a dog and pony show to cover up its lack of functionality.”

“The entire event felt like a dog and pony show. They had a live band, dancers, and a smoke machine, but they failed to address the important issues at hand.”

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