Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Turnspit Dog.

 Turnip Townsend.Turpin, 
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E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
 
Turnspit Dog.
 
One who has all the work but none of the profit; he turns the spit but eats not of the roast. The allusion is to the dog used formerly to turn the spit in roasting. Topsel says, “They go into a wheel, which they turn round about with the weight of their bodies, so dilligently … . that no drudge … . can do the feate more cunningly.” (1697.)   1
 


 Turnip Townsend.Turpin, 

 
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