clochard

noun

clo·​chard klō-ˈshär How to pronounce clochard (audio)

Did you know?

Why such a fancy French word for a bum? The truth of the matter is, nine times out of ten, you will find clochard used for not just any bum, but a French bum - even more specifically, a Parisian bum. And, sometimes, it's even a certain type of Parisian bum - a type that has been romanticized in literature and is part of the local color. Nevertheless, as "français" as this word (which comes from the French verb clocher, meaning "to limp") may seem, its regular appearance in English sources since 1937 makes it an English word, too.

Examples of clochard in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In summer the clochards like to live along the quay, sleep under the bridges. Bruce Dale, National Geographic, 17 Apr. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'clochard.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

French, from clocher to limp, from Vulgar Latin *cloppicare, from Late Latin cloppus lame

First Known Use

1937, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of clochard was in 1937

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Dictionary Entries Near clochard

Cite this Entry

“Clochard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clochard. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

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