Definition of navvy in English:

navvy

Syllabification: nav·vy
Pronunciation: /ˈnavē
 
/

noun (plural navvies)

British dated
  • A laborer employed in the excavation and construction of a road, railroad, or canal.
    More example sentences
    • Over the decade which followed, it spread to every section of the working class-miners, iron workers, canal navvies, wool and cotton operatives, builders, seamen, land workers.
    • The British inland waterway system, flourishing in the early nineteenth century, was staffed by a large body of bargees who, like the railway navvies, earned an unenviable reputation for roughness.
    • He was a navvy and had been employed at the new railway which was in the course of construction between Sheffield and Rotherham.

Origin

early 19th century: abbreviation of navigator.

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