bindle stiff


Definition of bindle stiff

: hobo especially : one who carries his clothes or bedding in a bundle

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In the argot of tramps and hoboes, a roll of clothes and bedding was called a bindle, a word that probably originated as an alteration of the more familiar bundle. Stiff itself can mean "hobo" or "migrant worker," meanings it took on in the late 19th century. About the same time, any tramp or hobo who habitually carried such a pack was known as a bindle stiff. In Australia, a pack-carrying hobo might be called a swagman.

Examples of bindle stiff in a Sentence

upon graduation from college he wandered around the country as a bindle stiff, naively believing that he was at one with the downtrodden

First Known Use of bindle stiff

1897, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of bindle stiff was in 1897

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Cite this Entry

“Bindle stiff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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