gandy-dancer

gandy dancer

[gan-dee]
noun Railroads Slang.
a member of a railroad section gang that lays or maintains track.

Origin:
1915–20; dancer apparently in reference to the rhythmic movements characteristic of such work; gandy is unexplained; the existence of a Gandy Manufacturing Company, which supposedly produced tools used by section gangs, has not been substantiated

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World English Dictionary
gandy dancer (ˈɡændɪ)
 
n
slang a railway track maintenance worker
 
[C20: of uncertain origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

gandy dancer
"railroad maintenance worker," 1923, Amer.Eng. slang, of unknown origin; dancer perhaps from movements required in the work, gandy perhaps from using tools from the Gandy Manufacturing Co. of Chicago, U.S.A.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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