[ doh-zer ]
/ ˈdoʊ zər /
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a person who dozes.
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Origin of dozer

First recorded in 1700–10; doze1 + -er1

Words nearby dozer

Other definitions for dozer (2 of 2)

[ doh-zer ]
/ ˈdoʊ zər /


Origin of dozer

By shortening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does dozer mean?

Dozer is commonly used as a short form of the word bulldozer, a large tractor that has a big, blade-like shovel at the front and moves around using metal tracks over wheels. They’re typically used to move earth and clear debris from an area.

Less commonly, bulldozer can also mean a person who intentionally tries to intimidate others. In fact, this was its original use, first recorded in the 1870s.

The verb bulldoze comes from around the same time. Today, bulldoze typically means to use a bulldozer, such as to move dirt or clear an area, or, more figuratively, to move forward or advance in an aggressive or forceful way.

However, bulldoze originally meant to intimidate, such as with threats of violence. Early records of this use refer to violent attacks, especially whipping, against African Americans by white people in the Southern United States. However, the origin of these words, and how bulldozer came to be a name for a type of tractor, is ultimately unclear.

Unrelatedly, dozer is also an informal word for someone who dozes—falls asleep or sleeps for a short time, especially without trying to. This use of the word dozer precedes its use in bulldozer.

Where does dozer come from?

The first records of bulldozer in reference to the construction vehicle come from around 1930, and the first records of the word dozer as a short form of this sense of the word come from around the 1940s. But the term bulldozer has been used to refer to a person who engages in intimidation since at least the 1870s.

Due to an explanation in a U.S. newspaper from that time, the verb bulldoze is often thought to come from the phrase bull-dose, as in a “dose fit for a bull,” a reference to cases in which African Americans were severely whipped by white people, especially in the Southern U.S., particularly to prevent them from voting or to coerce them to vote for a certain party or person. Another theory suggests a connection with the word bullwhip. Such people were sometimes called bulldozers. However, it’s uncertain exactly how these terms originated. Still, the term bulldozer became a general term for a person whose intention is intimidation, and that sense of the word may have contributed to the name of the construction vehicle that’s known for clearing an area by powerfully moving everything in its path. Today, most uses of dozer, bulldozer, and bulldoze, even figurative ones, are in reference to this vehicle, which can also be called an earthmover.

The first records of the word dozer to refer to someone who dozes—falls asleep for short periods—come from the early 1700s. This verb doze probably comes from the Old Norse dūsa, which means “lull.” Dozer is typically used to refer to someone who habitually takes little naps. You know all of those times your dad said he was just going to “close his eyes” for five minutes? He’s a dozer.

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British Dictionary definitions for dozer

/ (ˈdəʊzə) /

mainly US short for bulldozer
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