Definition of doss in English:



[no object]informal
  • 1Sleep in rough accommodation or on an improvised bed.

    ‘he dossed down on a friend's floor’
    • ‘She had her own bedroom while the girls slept in bunks in the living room and the young men dossed down in an outbuilding.’
    • ‘He actually dossed down in my luxury apartment for most of the season, moving out when we got relegated.’
    • ‘I got loose, tied a blanket and a counterpane together, fastened it to the bedstead, and let myself out of the window, and did not go home that night, but met my two pals and dossed in a haystack.’
    • ‘We'd save money by hitching and sleeping in train stations or anywhere we could doss down for a couple of hours.’
    • ‘Lots of us will be settling down in shacks - baches or cribs - or dossing by the beach or sleeping in our cars.’
    • ‘I'll be dossing on friends' couches for the next few days.’
    • ‘I had returned to London on the Tuesday before the big match, with fifty quid in my pocket and the promise of a couch to doss on in some old friend's dingy Zone 4 dive.’
    • ‘After much consternation and consultation, it was arranged that the Queen would doss down with a wealthy family.’
    • ‘We were in inner-city Brisbane, open for people travelling through, and some of you here may have dossed on our floor at some point, I don't know.’
    • ‘It is home to up to ten visitors each night who doss down in comfortable knowledge that they'll be waking to a mountain-sized breakfast!’
    • ‘And here is the couch where ya can doss for a few nights.’
    • ‘He heads for a dirty hut in the country where he can doss down and eke out a living.’
    • ‘I had nowhere to live and was dossing at his place.’
    • ‘This means they are walking out of the prison gates to life on the streets or dossing on friends' floors.’
    • ‘Of course, not having any income or a regular job meant that I was always broke and after a while it got embarrassing to doss down at friends' pads.’
    • ‘Neither of them will ever find himself dossing down in a refrigerator carton under a freeway overpass.’
    • ‘It was then privately-owned and I suppose letting him doss there saved them paying for a separate night watchman.’
    sleep, be asleep, doze, rest, take a siesta, nap, take a nap, catnap, drowse
  • 2Spend time idly.

    ‘all I've seen her do so far is doss around’
    • ‘And he, despite the fact he's there to ensure I'm fully empowered and actively jobhunting, acted as though I was going to doss around for four weeks.’
    • ‘Firstly, it improves productivity by prevent staff dossing or e-mailing pals in Boston all afternoon.’
    • ‘It was like dossing off school, but without the fear of getting caught.’
    • ‘I've been at work this morning and, what with finishing by midday, I've essentially been paid to do something that I've enjoyed, during a time when I'd usually be dossing about the house in my pyjamas.’
    • ‘I was dossing around in London and someone at the hostel mentioned this bloke who had just come over from the States and could really play the guitar.’
    • ‘I'll be dossing round the house until the football season starts again.’
    • ‘I suppose it's just nice to have the time to myself to do with as I see fit and if this means a couple of lie-ins and dossing around the house, then that's fine with me.’
    • ‘Maybe they assumed that I wasn't married, or I was taking money from the state, or I was dossing in work.’
    • ‘Is it an issue of privacy, employers' liability or just cutting down on staff dossing at work?’
    • ‘Back on the ground and dossing about with school mates, it was difficult to forget we were in a competition.’
    • ‘They played around it as children, dossed around it as teenagers, brought weekend visitors to take pictures around it whenever they came to stay.’
    • ‘Then he just dossed as he does when he gets to the front.’
    • ‘Back in Wicklow, he says, he can happily doss away weeks and months with them without so much as a blink.’
    • ‘I've been dossing for so long that my hair has all fallen out and I'm willing to bet my makeup has crumbled as well.’
    • ‘It was an unlikely antidote to just dossing about the streets, but in the process, of keeping idle hands busy on a Saturday morning, it also uncovered a real need amongst some of the youth to make music.’
    • ‘Suspect certain people of dossing online or e-mailing mates in Sydney?’
    • ‘I knew he wasn't going to show; but I also knew I couldn't go back to just dossing about the house and waiting for six weeks to click past.’
    • ‘Most of the time, however, there were always a few left empty, and this gave us the chance to do what thirteen year old kids loved to do: doss around on someone else's property.’
    • ‘Perhaps that was because this time around I actually wanted to learn rather than doss around.’
    • ‘Loads of unsigned bands turn up and doss about for a week, basically.’


  • 1informal An instance of sleeping in rough accommodation or on an improvised bed.

    ‘Tents were a luxury that most couldn't afford in those pre-wars days, preferring a doss in a cave or on the floor of a roadman's hut.’
    easy task, easy job, child's play, five-finger exercise, gift, walkover, nothing, sinecure, gravy train
    1. 1.1informal, archaic A bed in a cheap lodging house.
      ‘He made a doss for me on the veranda where I could lie during the day and stare into the still garden.’
  • 2informal A situation giving the opportunity for being extremely idle.

    ‘they thought being a student was a great doss’
    • ‘Some students might enrol on the course under the false perception that it is a doss year.’
    • ‘It is generally perceived to be a bit of a doss job and well paid to boot.’
    • ‘As most of us saw art class as a doss lesson, we ignored any advice given by our harassed art teacher.’
    • ‘Everyone else seems to treat it as a doss lesson but I like it.’
    • ‘Why should a company pay for someone's social life or doss hour?’


Late 18th century perhaps based on Latin dorsum ‘back’.