This is an article about a military rank. For the novel by Diana Wynne Jones, see Dogsbody (novel).

A dogsbody, or less commonly dog robber in the Royal Navy, is a junior officer, or more generally someone who does drudge work. A rough American equivalent would be a "gofer" or a "grunt",[1] a "lackey",[2] or "toady".[3]


The Royal Navy used dried peas and eggs boiled in a bag (pease pudding) as one of their staple foods circa the early 19th century. Sailors nicknamed this item "dog's body". In the early 20th century, junior officers and midshipmen who performed jobs that more senior officers did not want to do began to be called "dogsbodys".[1] The term became more common in non-naval usage ca. 1930, referring to people who were stuck with rough work.[citation needed]


  • Baldrick, the character in Blackadder, is called a dogsbody.
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo refers to one of the minor characters at Millennium, named Henry Cortez, as a dogsbody on page 338 of the paperback edition.
  • Gaius explains to Merlin that the young warlock is his dogsbody, along with being Arthur's servant, in the third episode of the BBC's Merlin TV series.
  • Line in the song Anarchy In The UK by the band the Sex Pistols. "'Cause I wanna be anarchy...No dog's body".

The term dogsbody has not always been derogatory, with a number of people deliberately using it as their callsign or handle. The most famous of these is probably Douglas Bader, who was an RAF fighter pilot during the Second World War.[4]


  1. ^ a b Dogsbody definition
  2. ^ Lackey definition
  3. ^ Toady definition
  4. ^ Reach for the Sky, Paul Brickhill

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  • dogsbody — dogs‧bod‧y [ˈdɒgzˌbɒdi ǁ ˈdɒːgzˌbɑːdi] noun dogsbodies PLURALFORM [countable] informal someone who is given the uninteresting or unpleasant jobs to do: • I got myself a job as typist and general dogsbody on a small magazine. * * * dogsbody UK US… …   Financial and business terms

  • dogsbody — ► NOUN (pl. dogsbodies) Brit. informal ▪ a person who is given boring, menial tasks …   English terms dictionary

  • dogsbody — [dôgz′bäd΄ē] n. pl. dogsbodies [Brit. Informal] a person appointed or hired to do menial work; drudge …   English World dictionary

  • dogsbody — [[t]dɒ̱gzbɒdi, AM dɔ͟ːgz [/t]] dogsbodies N COUNT A dogsbody is a person who has to do all the boring jobs that nobody else wants to do. [BRIT, INFORMAL] I thought it would be glamorous but I just turned out to be a general dogsbody. Syn: gofer …   English dictionary

  • dogsbody — UK [ˈdɒɡzˌbɒdɪ] / US [ˈdɑɡzˌbɑdɪ] noun [countable] Word forms dogsbody : singular dogsbody plural dogsbodies British informal someone who is forced to do all the jobs that no one else wants to do …   English dictionary

  • dogsbody — noun Etymology: British naval slang dogsbody pudding made of peas, junior officer Date: 1922 chiefly British drudge 1 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • dogsbody — noun /ˈdɒɡz.bɒ.dɪ,ˈdɑɡz.bɑ.di,ˈdɔɡz.bɑ.di/ A person who does menial work, a servant. Furthermore, there are still rather backward opinions in our society about the role of a translator. A translator is often regarded as a linguistic dogsbody. Syn …   Wiktionary

  • dogsbody — dogs|bod|y [ˈdɔgzˌbɔdi US ˈdo:gzˌba:di] n plural dogsbodies BrE someone who has to do all the small boring jobs that no one else wants to do ▪ I spent the summer helping out as a general dogsbody on the local paper …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • dogsbody — noun (C) BrE someone who has to do all the jobs that nobody else wants to do: I m just the general dogsbody around here …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • Dogsbody (novel) — Dogsbody   Cover from the American editi …   Wikipedia

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