Definition of hobo in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhōˌbō/

noun (plural hoboes or hobos)

North American
1A homeless person; a tramp or vagrant.
Example sentences
  • 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.
1.1US A migrant worker.
Example sentences
  • Nobody had ever accused this hobo of being lazy.
  • Anyway, yeah, being a straight-up rail-riding hobo is really interesting, but not for me.
  • Mostly young, single, and male, these hobos by necessity and choice hopped the rails in search of seasonal jobs and relief, using their wits, each other, and their labor as their primary means of survival.


Late 19th century: of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with hobo

lobo, oboe

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ho·bo

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