A long, drawn-out anecdote ending with an absurd or anticlimactic punch line.
A long, rambling joke or anecdote involving strange or absurd incidents and regarded as ultimately pointless.
Origin of shaggy-dog-story
- Uncertain; prob. from one of two jokes, one in which a protracted search for an alleged remarkably shaggy, talking dog ends in the discovery of the dog which, though it can indeed talk, is disappointingly not so shaggy after all; or one in which an even more protracted search for the shaggiest dog in the world ends in the utterly anticlimactic punchline "Now that's a shaggy dog!".