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[doh-boi] /ˈdoʊˌbɔɪ/
Informal. an American infantryman, especially in World War I.
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for doughboys
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And he says the roads are fairly choked with doughboys moving this way.

  • But the girl had her reward, in the looks of gratitude which the doughboys gave her.

    With the Doughboy in France

    Edward Hungerford
  • doughboys is the popular present-day nickname for infantrymen.

    Trench Ballads and Other Verses Erwin Clarkson Garrett
  • The enemy fell to pieces as soon as the doughboys came along.

    People of Destiny Philip Gibbs
  • A little after eleven the doughboys started back to their billets for dinner.

    The A.E.F. Heywood Broun
  • Here the doughboys did a little shooting on their own account when no officers were at hand.

    The A.E.F. Heywood Broun
  • The Alhambra was filled with Tommies and doughboys on the night I went.

    The A.E.F. Heywood Broun
  • The doughboys didn't care whether she came back with her repertoire or on it.

    The A.E.F. Heywood Broun
  • Poilus and doughboys did not go so far back for their subjects of conversation.

    The A.E.F. Heywood Broun
British Dictionary definitions for doughboys


(US, informal) an infantryman, esp in World War I
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
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Contemporary definitions for doughboys
noun's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for doughboys



"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
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doughboys in Culture

doughboys definition

United States infantry soldiers who served in World War I.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for doughboys



An infantry soldier; grunt, paddlefoot

[1867+; origin unknown; perhaps fr a resemblance between the buttons of the infantry uniform and doughboys, ''suet dumplings boiled in seawater,'' a term fr the British merchant marine]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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