Vintage Hobo terms that absolutely must make their way back into our vehicular!

Travel is on the rise and with that new and inventive travel terms creep their way into our everyday jargon. Instead of inventing new travacular ( just now coined by me). Let’s take a look at the OG traveler, the Hobo. No one was more familiar with travel slang than the Hobo of the early 1900’s USA. So For travel Tuesday let’s take a look at some of these awesome Hobo terms that need to make a huge comeback.

Adam & Eve on a raft - Two fried eggs on toast. “Wreck 'em” if they are scrambled. “With their eyes open,” if not.

Airedale - Someone who travels alone rather than with other tramps

Amble, ambulate - “Walk at a leisurely pace” (because, one imagines, of its similarity to the word “amble”), to ambulate is simply to walk

American nomad - A hobo who has been across the nation many times

Apple knockers - Apple pickers

Bad road - A railroad line that would rather kill a hobo than to allow him to obtain a “free” ride

Balling the jack - A freight train which is rolling fast.

eat their way - To travel by trains

Bicycle tramp - A tramp who travels by bicycle. Sometimes they put lawn mower motors on the bicyle so they don't always have to peddle. They carry their belongs on the bicycle

Big hole in the sky - A westbound

bindle stiff (2) - Chronic wanderers; itinerant misfits, criminals, migratory harvest workers, and lumber jacks. Called so because they carried a “bindle.”

Bindle stick - A walking stick, used by hobos, sometimes hand carved, and used to carry a bindle. The stick is also used to clear paths through dense brush or for protection. Oftentimes it is autographed as hobos meet one another during their travels

lowed-in-the-glass - Someone who was born to be a hobo

Boomer (1) - A drifter who went from one railroad job to another, staying but a short time

Bumming a ride - To hitchhike or the process of hitchhiking

The Call of the Road - Wanderlust

Cat wagon - A brothel on wheels visiting the chaste villages of the middle west or following the harvest crews

Cinder trail - The path the hobo or tramp walks

Coast beggars - Tramps who limit themselves to travel only to the cities of the west coast of America

Doggin' it - Traveling by bus

Drifter (1) - One who travels in no certain direction or path of travel

Itinerant - Traveling from place to place, wander about without a lived home

Lizzie tramps - The hitch-hikers and again to wandering families traveling in automobiles

Open Road - The system of railroad rails that can take you any where you have a mind to go or travel. As in the call of the “Open Road.

Ridin' 'em high - Traveling on tops of boxcars

Rubber hobo - A hobo that travels across the country in a rubber tired automobile, usually an older vehicle

Snowbirds (1) - These are hobos who travel South looking for a warm place to roose until the arrival of spring

Streamlined jack roller - A hobo thief who travels light. Also see streamliner


a traveling professional thief, or burglar

Did you see one you like? What’s your favorite travel term?

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