Definitions

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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • n. The sound made by the feet in walking or marching.
  • n. An excursion or journey on foot; a walk.
  • n. 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.
  • n. An instrument for trimming hedges.
  • n. An itinerant mechanic: same as tramper, 2.
  • n. An idle vagrant; a homeless vagabond. Also tramper.
  • n. 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.

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

  • n. a heavy footfall
  • v. move about aimlessly or without any destination, often in search of food or employment
  • v. walk heavily and firmly, as when weary, or through mud
  • n. a disreputable vagrant
  • n. a commercial steamer for hire; one having no regular schedule
  • v. travel on foot, especially on a walking expedition
  • n. a long walk usually for exercise or pleasure
  • n. a foot traveler; someone who goes on an extended walk (for pleasure)
  • v. cross on foot
  • n. a person who engages freely in promiscuous sex

Etymologies

Middle English trampen, to walk heavily, from Middle Low German.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • _Tramp, tramp, tramp_, with the smoke and sparks rising; and the big sailor growled again in protest.

    Hunting the Skipper The Cruise of the "Seafowl" Sloop

  • _Tramp, tramp, tramp_, growing fainter and fainter till it died out; and then Private Smithers said, "Hah!" making a great deal of it, and then sighed and smacked his lips as if thirsty, for the water was rippling pleasantly in his ears.

    Trapped by Malays A Tale of Bayonet and Kris

  • The evening's companion to Can You Hear Me and Detective Sketches, Lorenzo's basically a gay version of The Blue Angel, with David Zak as an advertising "creative" who becomes obsessed with the title tramp, a blithely opportunistic teenage hustler played by Paul Raedyn.

    Chicago Reader

  • To show how the tramp is a by-product of this economic necessity, it is necessary to inquire into the composition of the surplus labor army.

    THE TRAMP

  • In the United States the tramp is almost invariably a discouraged worker.

    INEFFICIENCY

  • Perhaps the bigger question is: Can we stop using the word "tramp"?

    Jennifer Cowie King: Can We Stop Using the Word "Tramp"?

  • In safety, durability, and performance, this tramp is a jump above all the rest, ASTM USA certifiably safe for young children.

    Best for Kids 2007 Toy List « Happy Healthy Hip Parenting

  • I have even read in a book of criminology that the tramp is an atavism, a throw-back to the nomadic stage of humanity.

    Down and Out in Paris and London

  • At present a tramp is an expense to the rates, and the object of each workhouse is therefore to push him on to the next; hence the rule that he can stay only one night.

    Down and Out in Paris and London

  • His ship is what they call a tramp; it don't belong to any loine.

    The Mermaid A Love Tale

Comments

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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