Meaning of bindlestiff in English:


Pronunciation /ˈbɪnd(ə)lstɪf/


informal US
  • A tramp.

    • ‘The bindlestiffs of that era had a very strong network and used their unified power to demand fair wages and social treatment.’
    • ‘From their own point of view, the critics were right: Rhode Island was a cesspool of malcontents, outcasts, bindlestiffs and religious mavericks who were welcome nowhere else.’
    • ‘From 1919 to 1925, when he finally left Stanford without taking a degree, Steinbeck dropped in and out of the University, sometimes to work closely with migrants and bindlestiffs on California ranches.’
    • ‘‘Steinbeck's potent blend of empathy and moral outrage was perfectly matched by the photographs of Dorothea Lange, who had caught the whole saga with her camera - the tents, the jalopies, the bindlestiffs, the pathos and courage of uprooted mothers and children. ‘’
    • ‘And across the Inland Empire, in a multitude of saloons called ‘Mint bars’ and ‘Stockmen's bars,’ silver-dollar-jangling miners and cowpokes speak up loudly in a man's world, while the roads to something-else are still walked by cocky, freewheeling itinerant ranch hands, gandy dancers and bindlestiffs.’
    tramp, drifter, down-and-out, derelict, beggar, itinerant, wanderer, nomad, wayfarer, traveller, gypsy, rover, vagabond, transient, migrant, homeless person, beachcomber, person of no fixed abode, person of no fixed address, knight of the road, bird of passage, rolling stone


Early 20th century probably from an alteration of bundle+ stiff (in the sense ‘useless person’).