Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

doughboy

[doh-boi]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. Informal. an American infantryman, especially in World War I.
  2. a rounded mass of dough, boiled or steamed as a dumpling or deep-fried and served as a hot bread.

Origin of doughboy

1675–85; dough + boy; sense “infantryman,” from mid-1860s, is obscurely derived; two plausible, but unsubstantiated claims: doughboy orig. referred to the globular brass buttons on infantry uniforms, likened to the pastry; dough referred to a clay used to clean the white uniform belts
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for doughboys

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples


British Dictionary definitions for doughboys

doughboy

noun
  1. US informal an infantryman, esp in World War I
  2. dough that is boiled or steamed as a dumpling
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for doughboys

doughboy

n.

"U.S. soldier," 1864, American English, said to have been in oral use from 1854, or from the Mexican-American War (1847), it is perhaps from resemblance of big buttons on old uniforms to a sort of biscuit of that name (1680s), but there are various other conjectures.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

doughboys in Culture

doughboys

United States infantry soldiers who served in World War I.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.