mgpcpastor's blog

Why Is “Sic ‘em” Used As A Command For Dogs To Attack? (via Today I Found Out)

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Another of life’s big questions: where did the practice of using the phrase “sic ‘em” to command dogs to attack come from?
No mention of where the succinct Australian variation “skitch” come from though.

The phrase seems based in older language usage, but how do these sorts of things find themselves in popular usage:

“Sick,” in this context, had nothing to do with the word meaning “ill,” but rather was simply a dialectal variant of “seek,” which used to sometimes carry the connotation of seeking with the intent to attack. (This sense of the word “seek” was used as far back as around AD 1000 in the work, Beowulf.)

Read more about it at Today I Found Out.

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