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roustabout

[roust-uh-bout] /ˈraʊst əˌbaʊt/
noun
1.
a wharf laborer or deck hand, as on the Mississippi River.
2.
an unskilled laborer who lives by odd jobs.
3.
a circus laborer who helps in setting up and taking down the tents and in caring for the animals, equipment, and grounds.
4.
any unskilled laborer working in an oil field.
Compare roughneck (def 2).
Origin
1865-1870
1865-70, Americanism; roust + about
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for roustabout
  • The boom line parted and the falling line and ball on the fast line struck a roustabout, inflicting fatal injuries.
  • Another roustabout was on the deck and was struck by falling debris and died instantly.
British Dictionary definitions for roustabout

roustabout

/ˈraʊstəˌbaʊt/
noun
1.
an unskilled labourer on an oil rig
2.
(Austral) another word for rouseabout
3.
(US & Canadian) a labourer in a circus or fairground
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for roustabout
n.

"deck hand, wharf worker," 1868, perhaps from roust + about. But another theory connects it to British dialect rousing "rough, shaggy," a word associated perhaps with rooster. With extended senses in U.S., including "circus hand" (1931); "manual laborer on an oil rig" (1948).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for roustabout

roustabout

noun

A general laborer, esp an oil-rig worker (1948+)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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