[ nav-ee ]
See synonyms for navvy on
noun,plural nav·vies.British Informal.
  1. an unskilled manual laborer.

Origin of navvy

First recorded in 1825–35; short for navigator

Words Nearby navvy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use navvy in a sentence

  • You have worked him like a navvy, and never given him enough pocket money to keep him in tobacco even.

    The Pioneers | Katharine Susannah Prichard
  • It is not the clodhopper, the navvy or the labourer, the careless or the incompetent, who suffer from them.

  • Most persons from the navvy to the king feel tired when their days work is finished, but this does not worry them.

  • Jim sat on his horse and navvy appeared riding up to the hollow, leading the saddle horses.

  • Jim, who always wanted navvy to be a dead Indian, looked profoundly sorry.

British Dictionary definitions for navvy


/ (ˈnævɪ) /

nounplural -vies
  1. British informal a labourer on a building site, excavations, etc

Origin of navvy

C19: shortened from navigator, builder of a navigation (sense 4)

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