Definition of hobo in English:


nounhoboes, hobos

North American
  • A homeless person; a tramp or vagrant.

    • ‘Cohen includes a category of songs about hoboes, tramps, vagabonds, etc. who populated the boxcars and rail-yards in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.’
    • ‘Nonetheless, hobos, like tramps, acquired a reputation for their carefree way of life, their predilection for booze, and a canon of whimsical folk songs and stories.’
    • ‘Migration was not limited to the poor, of course, although existing studies of tramps and hoboes present intriguing questions.’
    • ‘I have a feeling I looked like a homeless hobo that sleeps under anything she can find.’
    • ‘A few hobos and bag ladies wearing multiple layers of dirty, mismatched clothing leaned against the wall adjacent to the bench.’
    • ‘In the hard times of the 1930s, unemployed men and transient hobos often took temporary refuge on the island, erecting small shantytowns of tents.’
    • ‘Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Eleanor cared for a succession of hoboes, vagabonds, and bums who called at the back door of the large house the family owned on Hamond Street in Chicago.’
    • ‘Instead the poor guys ‘looked like hoboes and lived like pigs.’’
    • ‘I turned to see an unshaven, uncleaned, homeless hobo.’
    • ‘During my Mother's growing up days an old hobo lived in a dugout in the vicinity of her little town.’
    • ‘When we talked to that deranged hobo in the park who looked kind of like Dr. Phil, you said you'd do anything to save our friendship.’
    • ‘Lauren laughed, ‘He was probably some hobo on the streets before.’’
    • ‘C'mon, he's a movie star, not some random hobo on the street!’
    • ‘He knew it was probably just some hobo, but it was still unnerving.’
    • ‘So he dressed down, stopped shaving and tried to pass himself off as just another anonymous hobo.’
    tramp, vagrant, vagabond, derelict
    View synonyms


Late 19th century of unknown origin.