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

  • noun One who makes a living scavenging rags and other refuse.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who goes about to collect rags, bones, and other waste articles of some little value, from streets, ashpits, dunghills, etc.
  • noun A machine for tearing and pulling to shreds rags, yarns, hosiery, old carpet, and other waste, to reduce them to cotton or wool staple; a shoddy-machine.

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

  • noun One who gets a living by picking up rags and refuse things in the streets.

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

  • noun A person who scavenges rags and other refuse for a living

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

  • noun an unskilled person who picks up rags from trash cans and public dumps as a means of livelihood


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • Thinking out loud, do we have any bums, tramps and scavengers lists?

    September 2, 2008

  • You mean like bindlestiff, magpie, vulture, scrounger, clochard? Nope. No lists here.

    September 2, 2008

  • Closest I have is "Bad Guys."

    September 2, 2008

  • From the examples:

    “The ragpicker's basket is the hyphen between rags and paper, and the ragpicker is the hyphen between the beggar and the philosopher.”

    --The Memoirs of Victor Hugo

    May 7, 2012