Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One who wanders from place to place without a permanent home or a means of livelihood.
  • n. A migrant worker.
  • intransitive v. To live or wander like a vagrant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A homeless, usually penniless person, in some way associated with a life along the rails.
  • n. A migratory laborer
  • n. A tramp, vagabond; hence bum
  • v. To be a hobo, tramp, bum etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A professional tramp; one who spends his life traveling from place to place, esp. by stealing rides on trains, and begging for a living.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A tramp.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a disreputable vagrant

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Possibly a contraction of ho, boy or English dialect hawbuck ("lout, clumsy fellow, country bumpkin"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Meanwhile, enigmatic women dressed in hobo chic execute dance and aerial moves.

    Creative Cirko De Mente evokes . . . well, it's hard to say

  • Then you have some hobo from the female species on here begging people to vote democratic or independent in 2012.

    U.S. House passes $447 billion government spending bill

  • Then there are places like the quarries at Rutland, Vermont, where the hobo is exploited, the unearned energy in his body, which he has accumulated by "battering on the drag" or "slamming gates," being extracted for the benefit of that particular community.

    Some Adventures With the Police

  • I didn't see Bat Guano use the term "hobo" - that seems to be your little editorial addition to the conversation.

    Palin Supporter To Black Sound Man: "Sit Down, Boy"

  • At the same time, as a lover of pubs and clubs, gigs and parties, I'd have to say that the vibrant indie scene focused around the West End (Glasgow's East Village) quite simply rocks, at least as far as this "pomo boho homo hobo" is concerned.

    An A-Z Of This Blog

  • alongside their own label hobo, here you'll find international designers from the far reaches of denmark to brazil. may not post new threads you may not

    superfuture

  • And while there are always going to be those who cry foul at any depiction of a woman as a sex object, the hobo is the least likely sex object in the history of cinema.

    Turnstyle: Bindlestiffs: A Raunchy Teen Comedy Made By Teens

  • Not exactly what we used to call a hobo dinner, is it?

    Chicken in Parchment:(Poulet en Papillote)

  • For example, in 1997 my friend (and then coworker) Ross Raihala was interviewing Art Linkletter, and Linkletter became upset when Ross used the terms hobo and bum interchangeably (apparently, Linkletter had worked as a hobo in his twenties and found the word bum to be mildly offensive).

    Chuck Klosterman on Pop

  • But it was compassion for the homeless that prompted one man to invent what some are calling the hobo condo on wheels.

    CNN Transcript Mar 9, 2009

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