gandy dancer

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Uncertain; see Wikipedia for various speculative etymologies.


gandy dancer ‎(plural gandy dancers)

  1. (chiefly US, idiomatic) A railway laborer, especially a member of a crew which carries rails and affixes them to ties.
    • 1929, Vernon W. Saul, "The Vocabulary of Bums," American Speech, vol. 4, no. 5, p. 340:
      Gandy dancer—A section hand or track laborer.
    • 1959 May 18, "Bush Teachers," Time (retrieved 14 Sep 2008):
      The oddest gandy-dancer on the railroads in Manitoba during the summer of 1926 was a 6-ft. 4-in. American medical student named Ben Spock.
    • 1981 May 3, Edward C. Burks, "Amtrak Changes on Schedule," New York Times (retrieved 11 June 2014):
      In railroad slang, a gandy dancer is a track worker, one who lays or maintains track.

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