To Iceberg Slim and his contemporaries, this was jivespeak for 'sleep'. It could be used as both a noun and a verb.

Slang term used by British young people in the late 20th/early 21st century. It seems to be used more in a school/education setting than anywhere else. Examples of usage:

"That test was such a doss!" : The examination that we have just undertaken was extremely easy.

"I'm gonna doss off for a bit." : Please excuse me while I sit myself down and do nothing.

"What a doss homework!" : That was a surprisingly easy homework. I did not have to engage my brain at all.

Doss \Doss\, n. (Etym. uncertain.) A place to sleep in; a bed; hence, sleep. [Slang]

This traditional meaning has slipped somewhat out of everyday usage, and the meanings elaborated in other WUs seem to be more prevalent. It is only used in its traditional form in the north east of Scotland, where it is still common to here people say "I'm off tay mi doss.", meaning "I'm going to bed."

Thurs Jun 2002 at 18:50 Update:

Oolong informs me that Chambers Dictionary has the etymology of this word.
I quote Oolong who quotes Chambers Dictionary;

'Perh. from doss, a dial. English name for a hassock; or perh. dorse (see under dorsal)'

A few years ago in England (or at least Gloucestershire), this was a common synonym for playing truant. The phrase “I’m gonna doss science” meant that the child was not going to be in the science lesson illegally. However, more recently this word has mutated and now means a particularly easy lesson, i.e. one where you wouldn’t be any worse off if you didn’t turn up. For a lesson to be considered a doss, the work must be very easy and the teacher very lenient.

“Dossing around” in a lesson means messing around and playing up to the teacher, this can only be accomplished without punishment if the lesson is a doss.

Doss (?), n. [Etym. uncertain.]

A place to sleep in; a bed; hence, sleep.



© Webster 1913.

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