follow Dictionary.com

Get the details behind our redesign

hobo

[hoh-boh] /ˈhoʊ boʊ/
noun, plural hobos, hoboes.
1.
a tramp or vagrant.
2.
a migratory worker.
Origin
1885-1890
1885-90, Americanism; origin uncertain
Related forms
hoboism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for hobo
  • It smells not of fresh water but of hobo urine, slaughterhouses and factories.
  • His rise to geek fame through his unique humor and insight into tech and hobo matters is wrought with little controversy.
  • They're the scourge of hobo encampments and hot-sheet motels.
  • As deep unemployment continued, hobo's developed their own language and routines to try to make it through until the next job.
British Dictionary definitions for hobo

hobo

/ˈhəʊbəʊ/
noun (mainly US & Canadian) (pl) -bos, -boes
1.
a tramp; vagrant
2.
a migratory worker, esp an unskilled labourer
Derived Forms
hoboism, noun
Word Origin
C19 (US): origin unknown
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for hobo
hobo
1889, Western Amer.Eng., of unknown origin, perhaps related to early 19c. Eng. dial. hawbuck "lout, clumsy fellow, country bumpkin." Or from ho, boy, a workers' call on late 19c. western U.S. railroads. Hence facetious formation hobohemia "community or life of hobos," 1923 (see bohemian).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for hobo

hobo

noun

A person who wanders from place to place, typically by riding on freight trains, and who may occasionally work but more often cadges sustenance •The hobo is sometimes distinguished from bums and tramps by the fact that he works

[1889+; origin unknown; perhaps fr the call ''Ho, boy,'' used on late 1800s Western railroads by mail carriers, then altered and transferred to vagrants; perhaps putative hoe-boy, a migrant farm worker in the West, who became a hobo after the harvest season]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for hobo

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for hobo

9
9
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with hobo