Definition of bindlestiff in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈbindəlˌstif/


US informal
A tramp or a hobo, especially one carrying a bundle containing a bedroll and other gear.
Example sentences
  • 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.


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

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bin·dle·stiff

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.