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From dog +‎ -s- +‎ body. 1818, British navy slang, originally derogatory reference to unappetizing pease pudding (compare dog's breakfast), as if it were made of mashed dog meat. In 20th century applied to low-ranked sailors, thence menial servants in wider usage.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈdɒɡz.bɒ.dɪ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈdɔɡz.bɑ.di/, /ˈdɑɡz.bɑ.di/
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dogsbody (plural dogsbodies)

  1. (Britain) A person who does menial work, a servant.
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, “[Part I, episode 1]”, in Ulysses, London: The Egoist Press, published October 1922, OCLC 2297483:
      Who chose this face for me? This dogsbody to rid of vermin.
    • 1976, “Anarchy in the U.K.”, performed by Sex Pistols:
      'Cause I, I wanna be anarchy! / No dogsbody!
    • 1994, Blackadder:
      That's just Baldrick, my dogsbody.
    • 1995, Paul Kussmaul, Training The Translator, John Benjamins Publishing Co, p. 146:
      Furthermore, there are still rather backward opinions in our society about the role of a translator. A translator is often regarded as a linguistic dogsbody.




dogsbody (third-person singular simple present dogsbodies, present participle dogsbodying, simple past and past participle dogsbodied)

  1. To act as a dogsbody, to do menial work:
    • 1989, Tim Parks, Family Planning:
      Perhaps because, having been brought up in all those different countries and languages, and then studying economics of all things for just a year, followed by four years dogsbodying for a haulage company, he had never got any serious reading done.