late 14c., in caniculer dayes, the "dog days" around mid-August, from Latin canicularis "pertaining to the dog days or the Dog Star (Sirius)," from canicula "little dog," also "the Dog Star," diminutive of canis "a dog" (from PIE root *kwon- "dog"). Historically, it is attested in literal use ("pertaining to a dog") only in jocular humor.
Also see Sirius, and compare heliacal. The ancient Egyptian canicular year was computed from the heliacal rising of Sirius; the canicular cycle of 1,461 years is how long it would take a given day to pass through all seasons in an uncorrected calendar.
updated on November 01, 2022
Dictionary entries near canicular