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vagrant

[vey-gruh nt]
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noun
  1. a person who wanders about idly and has no permanent home or employment; vagabond; tramp.
  2. Law. an idle person without visible means of support, as a tramp or beggar.
  3. a person who wanders from place to place; wanderer; rover.
  4. wandering idly without a permanent home or employment; living in vagabondage: vagrant beggars.
  5. of, relating to, or characteristic of a vagrant: the vagrant life.
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adjective
  1. wandering or roaming from place to place; nomadic.
  2. (of plants) straggling in growth.
  3. not fixed or settled, especially in course; moving hither and thither: a vagrant leaf blown by the wind.
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Origin of vagrant

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 formsva·grant·ly, adverbva·grant·ness, nounnon·va·grant, adjectivenon·va·grant·ly, adverbnon·va·grant·ness, nounun·va·grant, adjectiveun·va·grant·ly, adverbun·va·grant·ness, noun

Synonyms

See more synonyms for vagrant on Thesaurus.com
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for vagrant

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He took to "vagrant courses," in which the muse forbears to follow him.

  • Their vagrant curiosity was aroused, but not yet to the point of investigation.

    Four Girls and a Compact

    Annie Hamilton Donnell

  • Is it, do you think chronic unemployment with a vagrant tendency?

  • Gabriel Faa, besides being a gipsy, was a vagrant and a deserter.

    Red Cap Tales

    Samuel Rutherford Crockett

  • He used it as a whip with which to scourge any vagrant hopes that dared creep into his heart.

    Quin

    Alice Hegan Rice


British Dictionary definitions for vagrant

vagrant

noun
  1. a person of no settled abode, income, or job; tramp
  2. a migratory animal that is off course
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adjective
  1. wandering about; nomadic
  2. of, relating to, or characteristic of a vagrant or vagabond
  3. moving in an erratic fashion, without aim or purpose; wayward
  4. (of plants) showing uncontrolled or straggling growth
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Archaic equivalent: vagrom (ˈveɪɡrəm)
Derived Formsvagrantly, adverbvagrantness, 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

Word Origin and History for vagrant

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper