Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A cheap rundown hotel or boarding house.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun a cheap and usually seedy lodging house or hotel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A cheap hotel or boarding house where many people sleep in large rooms.

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

  • noun a cheap lodging house

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

US 1904, flop +‎ house, originally hobo slang, presumably from slang flop ("lie down to sleep"). Other speculative etymologies relate it to flopping the men out of hanging bunks by letting down the ropes. The type of cheap hotel dates to the 19th century, and was originally called a lodging house or workingmen’s hotel.

Examples

  • One of the guest rooms has been named after a long-term flophouse resident, nicknamed "Charlie Peppers" due to his love of peppers.

    Shabby or chic? New York's Bowery House hotel

  • my mother told me she wouldn't let me turn her home into a "flophouse".

    At the Striped Wall With Tulips Low-Angle Café...

  • A few years ago, in my role as Global Ambassador for the health organization PSI Population Services International, I visited a Kenyan brothel -- it was a scuzzy flea-bag flophouse on a teeming street in a broken-up, tough part of town.

    Ashley Judd: A Kenyan Brothel's Lasting Impression

  • The large 1896 Chicago School structure by architect Ernest Flagg, was known at the time as Mills House No. 1 and served as a flophouse for transient men.

    Michael Vazquez: Anna Calvi, Live in NYC (VIDEO)

  • A few years ago, in my role as Global Ambassador for the health organization PSI Population Services International, I visited a Kenyan brothel -- it was a scuzzy flea-bag flophouse on a teeming street in a broken-up, tough part of town.

    Ashley Judd: A Kenyan Brothel's Lasting Impression

  • Claus and Emmanuelle talked about the flophouse in Schwabing, where they met as roommates, and the girls they picked up at the dance halls.

    The Forest

  • It seems that when my father was courting my mother, he made up all sorts of stories about his fabulous wealth, when, in fact, he was living out of a suitcase in a Santa Monica flophouse, subsisting on cans of chili and Spam.

    The Dark Side of Innocence

  • Here's Anna Calvi performing at Le Poisson Rouge, which was once the legendary jazz venue the Village Gate -- which itself was originally a flophouse for men, making for an interesting bit of fate, as Nina Simone whom Calvi cites as a favorite performed on this stage, and additionally, an early Calvi project was titled Cheap Hotel, releasing one single "New York"...

    Michael Vazquez: Anna Calvi, Live in NYC (VIDEO)

  • It seems that when my father was courting my mother, he made up all sorts of stories about his fabulous wealth, when, in fact, he was living out of a suitcase in a Santa Monica flophouse, subsisting on cans of chili and Spam.

    The Dark Side of Innocence

  • Le Poisson Rouge was once the legendary Jazz venue the Village Gate which was originally a flophouse for men - which is interesting bit of fate, as an earl Calvi project was titled Cheap Hotel, B-side "New York"

    Michael Vazquez: Anna Calvi, Live in NYC (VIDEO)

Comments

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  • also dosshouse

    April 17, 2009

  • Oh no, ghost word! Does anyone else think WordNet misses the standard usage of this term? I would tend to think it always has something illicit to do with it.

    April 18, 2009

  • I've never heard of "flophouse" being illicit of itself, only cheap, and usually in dodgy neighborhoods.

    April 20, 2009