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

  • intransitive verb To walk with a firm, heavy step; trudge.
  • intransitive verb To travel on foot; hike.
  • intransitive verb To wander about aimlessly.
  • intransitive verb To traverse on foot.
  • intransitive verb To tread down; trample.
  • noun A heavy footfall.
  • noun The sound produced by heavy walking or marching.
  • noun A walking trip; a hike.
  • noun One who travels aimlessly about on foot, doing odd jobs or begging for a living; a vagrant.
  • noun A prostitute.
  • noun A person regarded as promiscuous.
  • noun Nautical A tramp steamer.
  • noun A metal plate attached to the sole of a shoe for protection, as when spading ground.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To tread under foot; trample.
  • To tread (clothes) in water, so as to cleanse or scour them.
  • To travel over on foot: as, to tramp a country.
  • To walk, especially to walk with heavy step; tread; march; go on foot.
  • To go about as a vagrant or vagabond.
  • noun The sound made by the feet in walking or marching.
  • noun An excursion or journey on foot; a walk.
  • noun A plate of iron worn by ditchers, etc., under the hollow of the foot, to save the shoe in pressing the spade into the earth.
  • noun An instrument for trimming hedges.
  • noun An itinerant mechanic: same as tramper, 2.
  • noun An idle vagrant; a homeless vagabond. Also tramper.
  • noun A freight-vessel that does not run in any regular line, but takes a cargo wherever the shippers desire: also used attributively, as in tramp steamer. Also called ocean tramp.
  • To run (a tramp steamer), taking on merchandise at one port and selling it wherever possible or carrying freight anywhere desired.
  • To sail on a tramp steamer.

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

  • noun A foot journey or excursion.
  • noun A foot traveler; a tramper; often used in a bad sense for a vagrant or wandering vagabond.
  • noun The sound of the foot, or of feet, on the earth, as in marching.
  • noun A tool for trimming hedges.
  • noun A plate of iron worn to protect the sole of the foot, or the shoe, when digging with a spade.
  • transitive verb To tread upon forcibly and repeatedly; to trample.
  • transitive verb colloq. To travel or wander through.
  • transitive verb Scot. To cleanse, as clothes, by treading upon them in water.
  • intransitive verb To travel; to wander; to stroll.

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

  • noun pejorative A homeless person, a vagabond.
  • noun pejorative A disreputable, promiscuous woman; a slut.
  • noun Any ship which does not have a fixed schedule or published ports of call.
  • noun Australia, New Zealand A long walk, possibly of more than one day, in a scenic or wilderness area.
  • noun Short for trampoline, especially a very small one.
  • verb To walk with heavy footsteps.
  • verb To walk for a long time (usually through difficult terrain).
  • verb To hitchhike

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

  • noun a heavy footfall
  • verb move about aimlessly or without any destination, often in search of food or employment
  • verb walk heavily and firmly, as when weary, or through mud


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

[Middle English trampen, to walk heavily, from Middle Low German.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Originally as verb, from Middle English trampen ("to walk heavily") 1388, from Middle Low German (compare Modern German trampen ("to hitchhike")), from Proto-Germanic *tramp-; compare trap.


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  • "Even if Memphis was equipped and ready to ship cotton north, none was arriving from the south. As jobs grew scarce on farms and in small towns, poor families flocked to nearby cities, and the newly termed tramps moved freely along the railroads."

    —Molly Caldwell Crosby, The American Plague (New York: Berkeley Books, 2006), 19

    October 5, 2008