Posted by ESC on December 27, 2000
In Reply to: Dogsbody posted by ESC on December 27, 2000
: : Does anyone have any idea where this expression came from - for those who are given the menial tasks of this world? I've looked in the Archives and found no answer as to the origin.
: : Have a good 2001!
: I am away from my library at the moment. If memory serves, I found the expression "dogsbody" in a book of nautical terms and it referred to a "lowly" meal served to underlings. I'll post again after I've checked my references.
DOGSBODY - "A not very popular dish aboard ship which consisted of passengers' leftovers mixed with ships biscuits and reheated. A meal without much status now applied to those who once ate it." (From "Salty Dog Talk: Nautical Origins of Everyday Expressions" by Bill Beavis and Richard G. McCloskey, Sheridan House, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., 1995; first published in Great Britain, 1983.) Another source: ".noun orig nautical. A junior person, esp. one to whom a variety of menial tasks is given; a drudge, a general utility person.(compare) earlier nautical slang sense, dried peas boiled in a cloth." (From "The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang" by John Ayto and John Simpson, Oxford University Press, New York, 1992.)