• Paul Anthony Jones

Duntabout

(n.) an overworked employee; someone who is routinely used or taken advantage of



A dunt is a stout knock or blow, which makes a duntabout something that is handled roughly—or, quite literally, ‘dunted about’.



In that sense, the English Dialect Dictionary explains that duntabout was originally a nickname for the wooden ball struck in a game of shinty, while an 1846 Dictionary of the Scottish Language explains it can be applied to “anything that is constantly used and knocked about as of little value,” such as “an old piece of dress used for coarse or dirty work.”


Of all these figurative meanings, however, perhaps this is the most useful: according to the Scottish National Dictionary a duntbaout is “a servant who is roughly treated, and dunted about from one piece of work to another.”

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