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

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Synonyms for hobo

Synonyms: Noun

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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 Walker pointed to a red leather hobo bag, which retails for three hundred and seventy-five dollars. Charles Bethea, The New Yorker, "The Hottest Looks from the N.R.A.’s Concealed Carry Fashion Show," 23 Sep. 2019 Over the years, other Halloween children’s costumes were also recognized as either racist or insensitive including a prisoner, a hobo, a ninja, Day of the Dead representations, a Native American and Pocahontas. Sonja Haller, USA TODAY, "A parents' guide to cultural appropriation: an expert breaks down kids' Halloween costumes," 18 Oct. 2019 By the time they were grilled hard enough to hold the load without disintegrating, the doughnuts just became greasy hobo blankets. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "Review: Lucy Cooper’s Ice House at the top of San Antonio’s bar food scene," 12 Sep. 2019 Presenting four styles; a slouchy hobo, an oversized clutch, a braided messenger bag, and a waist belt, Simkhai hit on all the basics a fashion girl needs right now. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jonathan Simkhai Makes His Handbag Debut and You're Going to Want Them All," 9 Sep. 2019 For decades, San Francisco had a large hobo population. Gary Kamiya, SFChronicle.com, "SF ‘hobohemia’ transformed into Skid Row as jobs and city changed," 10 Aug. 2019 Leaving her hobo bag or fanny pack at home, Kardashian opted for Jacquemus’s tiny bag instead. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Kourtney Kardashian Gives the Micro Bag a Vacation-Ready Spin," 4 Aug. 2019 The migrant hobos considered these men to be of lower status. Gary Kamiya, SFChronicle.com, "SF ‘hobohemia’ transformed into Skid Row as jobs and city changed," 10 Aug. 2019 From 1901 to 1905 alone, about 24,000 hobos were killed while jumping trains. Gary Kamiya, SFChronicle.com, "Don’t call them bums: Hobos once filled the South of Market," 26 July 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.

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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

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Statistics for hobo

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Hobo.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hobo?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=h&file=hobo0001. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for hobo


How to pronounce hobo (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hobo

US : 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on hobo

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hobo

Spanish Central: Translation of hobo

Nglish: Translation of hobo for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hobo for Arabic Speakers

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