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.
early 19th century: abbreviation of navigator.
Definition of navvy in:
- The British & World English dictionary