Definition of roustabout
2 : an unskilled or semiskilled laborer especially in an oil field or refinery
3 : a circus worker who erects and dismantles tents, cares for the grounds, and handles animals and equipment
4 : a person with no permanent home or regular occupation; also : one who stirs up trouble
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Examples of roustabout in a Sentence
sought work as a roustabout on the city's seedy waterfront
Recent Examples of roustabout from the Web
Where: Roustabouts Theatre at Diversionary, 4545 Park Blvd.
Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), the dashing hero of Alex Kurtzman’s preposterous extravaganza The Mummy, is a virile fortune hunter, the kind of roustabout who shoots first, asks questions later, and always gets the girl.
Well-paying jobs in oil and gas — drilling wells, managing roustabouts — are fast disappearing, as production in the state declines because of a slump in energy prices.
Billy Bigelow is one of theater’s most ambivalent characters, a roustabout who wants to turn his life around and do right by Julie but isn’t up to the task.
A lawman who knew him described him as a little roustabout.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'roustabout.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Circus roustabouts are most commonly associated with circus animals, of course, but they also have a connection with game birds, at least in terms of etymology. "Roustabout" comes from "roust," which is an alteration of "rouse," a verb from Middle English that originally meant "to shake the feathers" (as in the way a bird might ruffle its feathers or shake its plumage when it is settling down or grooming itself). "Rouse," which today is a synonym of "awaken," also formerly meant "to cause to break from cover," a sense that may have influenced the modern meaning of "roust": "to drive (as from bed) roughly or unceremoniously."
First Known Use of roustabout
ROUSTABOUT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of roustabout for English Language Learners
: a worker in an oil field, at a circus, etc., whose job requires strength but little skill
Seen and Heard
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