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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


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A labourer employed in the digging and excavating of earth, &c., in the construction of railways, docks, canals or other engineering operations. The word is a shortened form of "navigator," applied during the 18th and early part of the 19th centuries to a labourer at work on canals, to which the name "navigation" is often applied. Power-machines (excavators) for performing such work are consequently known as "steamnavvies."

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Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Navvy'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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