ho·​bo | \ ˈhō-(ˌ)bō How to pronounce hobo (audio) \
plural hoboes also hobos

Definition of hobo

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a migratory worker
2 : a homeless and usually penniless vagabond
3 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


hoboed; hoboing; hobos

Definition of hobo (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to live or travel in the manner of a hobo

Synonyms for hobo

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of hobo in a Sentence

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: Noun Andy Griffith plays a folksy hobo turned megalomaniacal media star in Elia Kazan’s biting 1957 satire. Los Angeles Times, 5 Nov. 2021 From Japanese internees and hobos at the turn of the 20th century to taggers at the turn of the 21st, these graffiti artists reveal Los Angeles’s underground history. New York Times, 24 Mar. 2020 Maisel bought the abandoned building in 1966, when the neighborhood was flush with hobos and artists, and the building is inextricably connected with his work as a photographer. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 15 Aug. 2019 The show started with asymmetrical skirts in large, dyed patchwork denim paired with slouchy jackets and hobo bags in earth tones. Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2020 Alternatively, squishable soft pouches and hobo bags have married into the ultimate hybrid baguette, with options from Bottega Veneta, Rag & Bone, and Staud. Madeline Fass, Vogue, 21 Jan. 2020 Devon was played by Devon Abner, who in the episode in question was the one dressed as a hobo. Omar Sanchez, EW.com, 15 Jan. 2020 The poems depict a world of modern day hobos who lurk in train yards, and roam the underbelly of secondary cities like Moorhead and Bellingham. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, 11 Dec. 2019 Abood kept it simple with a large peace-sign necklace and a hobo bag. Greg Burnett, cleveland, 29 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hobo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of hobo


1888, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1906, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hobo


origin unknown

Learn More About hobo

Dictionary Entries Near hobo




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for hobo

Cite this Entry

“Hobo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hobo. Accessed 22 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for hobo



English Language Learners Definition of hobo

: a person who has no place to live and no money and who travels to many different places


ho·​bo | \ ˈhō-bō How to pronounce hobo (audio) \
plural hoboes

Kids Definition of hobo

More from Merriam-Webster on hobo

Nglish: Translation of hobo for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hobo for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!