Word of the Day


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someone who has to do a lot of boring and unpleasant work

Origin and usage

The word drudge comes from the Middle English word ‘druggen’ meaning ‘to do monotonous or menial work’. Its modern usage, ‘one employed in distasteful work’, dates to the late 15th century.


Drudge is a noun that refers to a person who has a job that is tedious or undesirable.

Boring jobs are certainly a matter of personal preference: what one person considers an unpleasant or dull career may be the ideal job for someone else. No one sets out to be a drudge in a boring job, of course, but plenty of workers report dissatisfaction with their careers.

According to an international survey of workers, legal professions have the highest number of employees who consider themselves drudges. These professionals say the long hours they have to spend doing research is what makes them feel as though their jobs are boring. Other careers where drudges may be found include project management, data entry, customer care and accounting.

In international polling, a surprising majority of workers in different countries have expressed the view that the work they do is tedious. Companies may struggle to convey the importance of the work to employees, which in turn can make a worker feel like a drudge as they do not understand the practical impact of the job. This often leads to restlessness, and drudges may wish to move on to a new position.

It seems that boredom in the workplace is a common problem, with many workers expressing dissatisfaction with their jobs.


“Cease to be a drudge, seek to be an artist.”
(Mary McLeod Bethune)

“A librettist is a mere drudge in the world of opera.”
(Robertson Davies)


workhorse, drone, hireling
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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1 Comment

  • The best known use of the term ‘drudge’ is probably that of Dr Johnson, who in his 1755 Dictionary defined a lexicographer as: ‘a writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge, that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words.’ Lexicographers, who have more of a sense of humour than you might imagine, have adopted this description with enthusiasm. It is used by US lexicographer Kory Stamper as the title of her entertaining blog.

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