Definitions for navvyˈnæv i
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word navvy
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
Brit. Informal.an unskilled manual laborer.
Category: British, Informal
Origin of navvy:
1825–35; earlier, a laborer employed in canal excavation; nav(igator) in same sense (cf. obs. or dial. navigation a canal) + -y2
drudge, peon, navvy, galley slave(noun)
a laborer who is obliged to do menial work
a laborer on a civil engineering project such as a canal or railroad
Origin: from the navigation canals upon which these workers first toiled
originally, a laborer on canals for internal navigation; hence, a laborer on other public works, as in building railroads, embankments, etc
Navvy, a shorter form of navigator or navigational engineer, is particularly applied to describe the manual labourers working on major civil engineering projects. The term was coined in the late 18th century in Great Britain when numerous canals were being built, which were also sometimes known as "navigations", or "eternal navigations", intended to last forever.
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