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[saw-bohnz] /ˈsɔˌboʊnz/
noun, plural sawbones, sawboneses. (used with a singular verb) Slang.
a surgeon or physician.
Origin of sawbones
1830-40; saw1 + bone + -s3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sawbones
Historical Examples
  • That any whipper-snapper of a sawbones should tell me to go to my room.

    The Green Rust Edgar Wallace
  • The sawbones have give it that name, I'm aware, but of course that's their fun.

  • Don't come to me: go t' a sawbones and have your arm cut off.

    Hard Cash Charles Reade
  • But I kin go to Bullhide for the sawbones in it, and bring him back, too.

  • That sawbones feller is right when he says the progress will be slow.

    With Edged Tools Henry Seton Merriman
  • Having really excited him, instead of soothing him, sawbones Salter had to pretend that you would excite him.

    A Terrible Temptation Charles Reade
  • The boys buried him decent while the sawbones was cuttin' what was left of my arm away, an' puttin' me to sleep with dope.

    Mary Louise and the Liberty Girls Edith Van Dyne (AKA L. Frank Baum)
  • I am lying here like a poor log because that sawbones and you girls make me.

  • For many years he had carried in his body a Spanish bullet which the sawbones of his guerrilla band had been unable to extract.

    The Enemies of Women Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • I was afterwards informed by my "sawbones" friend that play was stopped directly I left.

    Sharps and Flats John Nevil Maskelyne
British Dictionary definitions for sawbones


noun (pl) -bones, -boneses
(slang) a surgeon or doctor
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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Word Origin and History for sawbones

"surgeon," 1837, slang, from verbal phrase; see saw (v.) + bone (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sawbones



A surgeon; a physician: without being able to rouse a sawbones (1830+)

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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