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[vey-gruh nt] /ˈveɪ grənt/
a person who wanders about idly and has no permanent home or employment; vagabond; tramp.
Law. an idle person without visible means of support, as a tramp or beggar.
a person who wanders from place to place; wanderer; rover.
wandering idly without a permanent home or employment; living in vagabondage:
vagrant beggars.
of, relating to, or characteristic of a vagrant:
the vagrant life.
wandering or roaming from place to place; nomadic.
(of plants) straggling in growth.
not fixed or settled, especially in course; moving hither and thither:
a vagrant leaf blown by the wind.
Origin of vagrant
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English vagaraunt, apparently present participle of Anglo-French *vagrer, perhaps < Middle English *vagren, blend of vagen (< Latin vagārī to wander) and *walcren (> Old French wa(u)crer), equivalent to walc- (see walk) + -r- frequentative suffix + -en infinitive suffix
Related forms
vagrantly, adverb
vagrantness, noun
nonvagrant, adjective
nonvagrantly, adverb
nonvagrantness, noun
unvagrant, adjective
unvagrantly, adverb
unvagrantness, noun
1. Vagrant, vagabond describe an idle, disreputable person who lacks a fixed abode. Vagrant suggests a tramp, a person with no settled abode or livelihood, an idle and disorderly person: picked up by police as a vagrant. Vagabond especially emphasizes the idea of worthless living, often by trickery, thieving, or other disreputable means: Actors were once classed with rogues and vagabonds. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for vagrant
  • While pleading on almost every page for the rights of the poor, he has no sentimental pity for the idle vagrant.
  • vagrant: birds are found casually north of mapped range.
  • vagrant: casual to the east, particularly in fall and winter.
  • They are astonishing, those eyes: pale and opalescent, with vagrant beams of light glancing from the corneas.
  • But he's far from a thief or a vagrant, in the usual meanings of those words.
  • Another, a vagrant sea-captain, is darkly tempestuous and dour.
  • In the end, after certain vagrant incidents, they are reconciled-but don't ask us why.
  • That's all there is: vagrant viciousness and coincidence.
  • And the unctuousness of its expression will take care of a lot of vagrant hopes.
  • If you can't guess that the answer is zero, proceed directly to the nearest park bench and begin your career as a vagrant.
British Dictionary definitions for vagrant


a person of no settled abode, income, or job; tramp
a migratory animal that is off course
wandering about; nomadic
of, relating to, or characteristic of a vagrant or vagabond
moving in an erratic fashion, without aim or purpose; wayward
(of plants) showing uncontrolled or straggling growth
Archaic equivalent vagrom (ˈveɪɡrəm)
Derived Forms
vagrantly, adverb
vagrantness, noun
Word Origin
C15: probably from Old French waucrant (from wancrer to roam, of Germanic origin), but also influenced by Old French vagant vagabond, from Latin vagārī to wander
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
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Word Origin and History for vagrant

mid-15c., perhaps an alteration (by influence of Latin vagari "wander") of Anglo-French wacrant, noun use of present participle of Old French wacrer "to walk or wander," from a Germanic source (e.g. Old Norse valka "wander"). The adjective is recorded from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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