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a person who does unpleasant jobs for others


dogsbody = Mädchen für alles, Handlanger, Hilfskraft --- GOOGLE INDEX dogsbody: approximately 300,000 Google hits



Diary of a DOGSBODY

(News Headline in The Guardian)

The great thing about these jobs is that you are guaranteed that the work won't be DOGSBODY work. You're given a project and recognised as an individual who has high potential of contributing positively.

(The Sunday Herald, Scotland)

Did you


- a person who has to do all the boring or unpleasant jobs that other people do not want to do

(Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)


British actress Kim Hartman left school at the age of 16 to work as an assistant stage manager at a theatre where she said, "I was a dogsbody, working from early morning to late at night, but I loved it." Not everyone who has worked as a dogsbody has such fond memories. The word usually paints a picture of boring tasks that no one else wants to do: mopping the floors, emptying rubbish bins, fetching coffee for the boss.

At first glance, it would appear that dogsbody refers to being treated like a dog, in other words like a second-class citizen, a slave. But no, it has to do with dried peas!

British sailors during the time of Admiral Nelson ate some of the worst food imaginable. This included delicacies like dried salted beef and biscuits that were hard as stone. Another regular item on the shipboard menu was pease pudding, which was dried peas boiled in a bag. As sailors have a habit of doing, they came up with a creative name and called it dog's body. This may have referred to the shape of the bag after boiling.

At some point the expression was applied to lowly sailors who were given common tasks by the ship's officers. The expression was eventually adopted by the civilian world for someone who gets stuck with all of the "dirty work."


gofer, grunt, guy/gal/girl Friday, office boy/girl, peon, scrub, slave,


"Bob started out as a dogsbody in the mail room and eventually worked his way up to senior management."

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