Brit. an unskilled laborer, as on canals, roads, etc.
Origin of navvyby shortening of navigator in sense “laborer digging a canal” ; from navigation in dialect, dialectal sense “artificial waterway”
nounpl. nav·vies Chiefly British
A laborer, especially one employed in construction or excavation projects.
Origin of navvyShort for navigator, canal laborer (obsolete).
(third-person singular simple present navvies, present participle navvying, simple past and past participle navvied)