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ho·​bo ˈhō-(ˌ)bō How to pronounce hobo (audio)
plural hoboes also hobos
: a migratory worker
: a homeless and usually penniless vagabond
or less commonly hobo bag : a large shoulder bag shaped like a pouch
To punctuate the all-blue outfit, the actress slung on an unstructured, oversized suede hobo, a practical antidote to the current craze for fanny packs and mini bags.Edward Barsamian


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hoboed; hoboing; hobos

intransitive verb

: to live or travel in the manner of a hobo

Example Sentences

Noun kind folks who always gave hoboes who came to the farm a meal and then sent them on their way
Recent Examples on the Web
From leather totes to raffia hobos to beach bags, here are our favorite big bags to carry now and forever. Sophie Dweck, Town & Country, 27 Mar. 2023 The lightweight, vegan leather convertible hobo features a lockable luggage sleeve, a grab-and-go phone pocket to keep your cell handy, an elastic key leash, a wristlet strap, lipstick and pen loops, plus many more compartments and organization options. Saryn Chorney, Travel + Leisure, 9 Mar. 2023 Khaite Beatrice Large Knot Hobo Bag Now 10% Off $1,800 at Bergdorf Goodman The fall runways had one thing to say about designer totes and hobo bags: the bigger, the better. Halie Lesavage, Harper's BAZAAR, 8 Mar. 2023 Totes were heavily featured in a lengthy list of hot-ticket shows like Sandy Liang, Coach, Proenza Schouler, Collina Estrada, Luar, Ulla Johnson, and even Brandon Maxwell, where models used huge hobo bags as clutches. Meg Donohue, ELLE, 22 Feb. 2023 Limitless has a simple set-up: loser/author Bradley Cooper who lives in filth and dresses like a hobo is offered a pill that will make everything all better. Kyle Munkittrick, Discover Magazine, 13 Mar. 2011 An African's eye view of Western aid campaigns The piecemeal existence of the pen-wielding hobo. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 14 July 2012 Additional bullet points include exhortations to boycott products marked as Lite; hex the Muzak company; go on strike; dance all night; start a pirate radio station; put up posters; home-school your kids or teach them a craft; don’t vote; be a hobo. New York Times, 11 June 2022 Do yourself a favor and swap out your boxy bag for a hobo. Sarah Boyd, Forbes, 20 Jan. 2022 See More

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

Word History



origin unknown

First Known Use


1888, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1906, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hobo was in 1888

Dictionary Entries Near hobo

Cite this Entry

“Hobo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hobo. Accessed 31 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural hoboes also hobos
: a homeless and usually penniless wanderer : tramp
hobo verb

More from Merriam-Webster on hobo

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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