Green’s Dictionary of Slang

doss n.1

also dos
[Lat. dorsus, the back, on which the sleeper lies]

1. [mid-19C+] a place to sleep, a bed, a lodging; also, the cost of a night’s lodging (see cites 1882, 1891).

2. [mid-19C+] a sleep.

3. [mid-19C] (Aus. und.) a prison.

4. [late 19C; 1940s–50s] (orig. UK Und.) one month, as part of a jail sentence.

5. [1920s] (US) a rest.

6. in fig. uses.

(a) [1960s] (US black) an attractive woman.

(b) [1980s+] something easy to accomplish.

(c) [2000s] any form of aimless, pleasurable activity.

7. see dosshouse n.

In derivatives

dossery (n.)

[mid–19C] (UK Und.) a lodging-house.

In compounds

doss-bag (n.)

1. a hammock; a sleeping bag.

2. [1990s+] (UK juv.) an extremely idle person.

doss-down (n.) [late 19C+]

1. a (cheap) lodging-house.

2. a sleep.

3. (Aus. / N.Z.) a makeshift bed.

dosshead (n.) [-head sfx (1); lit. ‘sleep head’]

[20C+] a fool, an idiot, a simpleton.

doss-hole (n.)

[2000s] a filthy room or lodging place.

dosshouse (n.)

see separate entry.

dossing crib (n.) [crib n.1 (6)]

1. [mid-19C] a brothel.

2. a lodging house.

(also doss crib)
dossing moll (n.) [moll n. (2)]

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) a prostitute.

doss joint (n.)

[1930s] (US black) a hotel.

doss-man (n.)

[19C] the keeper of a lodging house.

doss money (n.)

[late 19C] the price of a night’s lodging.

doss ticket (n.)

[late 19C] (UK tramp) a ticket giving one the right to a night’s lodging.

In phrases

do a doss (v.)

1. [mid-19C+] to go to sleep.

2. [late 19C] to go to bed (when ill).

on the doss

[1900s] homeless, living as a tramp.