[ hoh-boh ]
/ ˈhoʊ boʊ /

noun, plural ho·bos, ho·boes.

a tramp or vagrant.
a migratory worker.

Nearby words

  1. hobnail,
  2. hobnail cell,
  3. hobnail liver,
  4. hobnailed,
  5. hobnob,
  6. hoboken,
  7. hobrecht,
  8. hobson,
  9. hobson's choice,
  10. hobson-jobson

Origin of hobo

An Americanism dating back to 1885–90; origin uncertain

Related formsho·bo·ism, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hobo

British Dictionary definitions for hobo


/ (ˈhəʊbəʊ) /

noun plural -bos or -boes mainly US and Canadian

a tramp; vagrant
a migratory worker, esp an unskilled labourer
Derived Formshoboism, noun

Word Origin for hobo

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

Word Origin and History for hobo



1889, Western U.S., of unknown origin. Barnhart compares early 19c. English dialectal hawbuck "lout, clumsy fellow, country bumpkin." Or possibly from ho, boy, a workers' call on late 19c. western U.S. railroads. Facetious formation hobohemia, "community or life of hobos," is from 1923 (see bohemian).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper