from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One whose employment is the removal of dust, rubbish, or garbage.
  • noun The genius of sleep in popular sayings and folklore: so named because the winking and eye-rubbing of a sleepy child are as if he had dust in his eyes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One whose employment is to remove dirt and refuse; a garbage man.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun UK Someone whose job it is to collect refuse from people's homes and take it to be processed.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun someone employed to collect and dispose of refuse


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • Her mantra was whatever you wanted to do, whether you wanted to be a dustman or a zookeeper, that was absolutely brilliant as long as you did it to the best of your abilities.

    The famous Fiennes 2011

  • And, although shunted into the part at short notice, Michael Feast catches Alfred Doolittle's transition from happily drunken dustman to respectable middle-class morality: like his daughter, in fact, he is both victim, and beneficiary, of Higgins's caprice.

    Pygmalion - review 2011

  • • In 1989 Nicholas Ridley, the minister for the environment in the Conservative government, tried to defend the poll tax as "fair" on the grounds that "a duke would pay the same as a dustman".

    Letters: Radical alternatives to raising VAT 2011

  • Whilst working as a dustman in the late sixties Corona bottles and other 'returnables' were very much a part of our perks, sometimes producing up to £2 or £3 a week ... the age of the affluent society was already upon us when people couldn't be arsed to take them back.

    Fizzzz Pop! Peter Ashley 2008

  • Playing "My old man's a dustman" would probably not harm anyone, might even increase the enjoyment of the cup final, but that's ntot the point - there has to be a valid reason for playing it.

    Shall we sing a song for you? O'Neill 2008

  • I remember Rowan falling on to a jagged baked bean can dropped by the dustman on the path, and rather envying him the drama of the dash to the hospital and the impressive bandage.

    Hancox: All under one roof Charlotte Moore 2010

  • On the contrary, it seems there will be even further politicisation of HM's 'boys in blue' (or 'boys/girls in dustman flourescent/helmeted riot gear/Stasi social spies' with the front line essential responses devolved to inexperienced, under-trained and underpaid council workers).

    Tony Blair: The Next Labour Prime Minister? 2010

  • The problem with the fluorry jacket is that is equipment not uniform and as such it is not designed to be worn all the time (unless you are a dustman).

    T Shirts/ Polo Shirts **UPDATE** « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG Inspector Gadget 2008

  • He started out as a Dublin dustman and became one of the founding fathers of the resurgence of the Temple Bar district of the capital.

    Michael Jackson's Irish hideaway 2010

  • When I was a dustman it didn't put me off my sandwiches.

    Monty Don: 'I often eat cakes while my fingers are caked in soil' John Hind 2010


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  • In the UK, a garbage collector or binman.

    January 15, 2009

  • Now here's a little story

    To tell it is a must

    About an unsung hero

    That moves away your dust

    Some people make a fortune

    Other's earn a mint

    My old man don't earn much

    In fact....he's flippin'.....skint

    Oh, my old man's a dustman

    He wears a dustman's hat

    He wears cor blimey trousers

    And he lives in a council flat

    He looks a proper narner

    In his great big hob nailed boots

    He's got such a job to pull em up

    That he calls them daisy roots

    Some folks give tips at Christmas

    And some of them forget

    So when he picks their bins up

    He spills some on the steps

    Now one old man got nasty

    And to the council wrote

    Next time my old man went 'round there

    He punched him up the throat

    Oh, my old man's a dustman

    He wears a dustman's hat

    He wears cor blimey trousers

    And he lives in a council flat

    I say, I say Duncan

    I 'er...I found a police dog in my dustbin

    (How do you know he's a police dog)

    He had a policeman with him

    Though my old man's a dustman

    He's got a heart of gold

    He got married recently

    Though he's 86 years old

    We said 'Ear! Hang on Dad

    you're getting past your prime'

    He said 'Well when you get to my age'

    'It helps to pass the time'

    Oh, my old man's a dustman

    He wears a dustman's hat

    He wears cor blimey trousers

    And he lives in a council flat

    I say, I say, I say

    My dustbins full of lillies

    (Well throw 'em away then)

    I can't Lilly's wearing them

    Now one day while in a hurry

    He missed a lady's bin

    He hadn't gone but a few yards

    When she chased after him

    'What game do you think you're playing'

    She cried right from the heart

    'You've missed I too late'

    'No... jump up on the cart'

    Oh, my old man's a dustman

    He wears a dustman's hat

    He wears cor blimey trousers

    And he lives in a council flat

    I say, I say, I say (What you again)

    My dustbin's absolutely full with toadstools

    (How do you know it's full)

    'Cos there's not much room inside

    He found a tiger's head one day

    Nailed to a piece of wood

    The tiger looked quite miserable

    But I suppose it should

    Just then from out a window

    A voice began to wail

    He said (Oi! Where's me tiger head)

    Four foot from it's tail

    Oh, my old man's a dustman

    He wears a dustman's hat

    He wears cor blimey trousers

    And he lives in a council flat

    Next time you see a dustman

    Looking all pale and sad

    Don't kick him in the dustbin

    It might be my old dad

    January 15, 2009

  • Oi! Lonnie Donnegan innit. 'Avin a right-good knees-up rahnd the Joanner.

    January 15, 2009

  • Variants survive today in slum-ridden megacities like Cairo, Mumbai, and Buenos Aires, but the epitome was early nineteenth-century London, where a scavenger army of tens of thousands of impoverished men, women, and children, each with a defined specialty, scavenged the dregs of the metropolis. There were toshers in the sewers and mudlarks on the riverbanks, rag-pickers atop rubbish heaps and bone-pickers behind kitchens. "Pure-finders" scooped up dog manure for tanneries, dustmen collected ash and night-soil men emptied cesspools. . . . Teeming cities like London and Paris could not have functioned without the ad hoc scavenging system, but the cost was very high. The scavengers worked in filth, and as the investigations of William Farr and John Snow demonstrated, filthy conditions were crucial in the spread of communicable disease.
    Dan Fagin, Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation (New York: Bantam Books, 2014), p. 85

    February 7, 2016