a person who lives by gathering salable articles of jetsam, refuse, etc., from beaches.
a vagrant who lives on the seashore, especially a nonnative person living in such a way on a South Pacific island.
a long wave rolling in from the ocean onto the beach.

Origin of beachcomber

First recorded in 1830–40; beach + comber Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for beachcomber

Historical Examples of beachcomber

  • He was wrecked on the Peruvian coast and became a beachcomber, and then got a berth in a whaler.

    The Frozen Pirate

    W. Clark Russell

  • The beachcomber meditated a few seconds; then he walked down to the boat.

  • “Hold hard,” cried the beachcomber, when the bottom was nearly reached.

    King o' the Beach

    George Manville Fenn

  • I'll admit he's not exactly my style, but he's no beachcomber.

    Motor Matt's Hard Luck

    Stanley R. Matthews

  • Some beachcomber in Honolulu had whispered to you, and you'd written to the Governor to find out.

    The Night-Born

    Jack London

British Dictionary definitions for beachcomber



a person who searches shore debris for anything of worth, esp a vagrant living on a beach
Canadian (in British Columbia) a person who is paid for salvaging loose logs and returning them to logging companies
a long high wave rolling onto a beach
Derived Formsbeachcombing, noun
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