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Vagabond vs Vagrant vs Truant vs Tramp vs Bum vs Hobo

Vagabond, vagranttruanttrampbumhobo mean a person who wanders at will or as a habit.

Vagabond may apply to a homeless wanderer lacking visible means of support, but more often it lacks derogatory implications and emphasizes the mere fact of wandering and implies a carefree fondness for a roaming life.

Vagrant is more likely to imply disreputableness and in its common legal use it denotes a person without fixed or known residence whose habits or acts are such that he is likely to become a public menace or a public charge. Even in more general use the term tends to carry stronger implications of disreputableness and waywardness than vagabond .

Truant carries as its strongest implication the habit of wandering away from where one ought to be or of loitering when one ought to be elsewhere and especially at school.

Tramp is the ordinary and generally derogatory word for one who leads a wandering life; it can apply to any such person whether he moves about in search of work, especially seasonal work, or whether he lives by beggary and thievery.

Bum basically applies to a lazy, idle, and often drunken, good-for-nothing, who will not work but habitually sponges on others. But bum , especially when qualified, may denote one who wanders in pursuit of a particular occupation or activity.

Hobo is often distinguished from tramp , sometimes in terms of willingness to work, sometimes in terms of methods of travel, the tramp being then taken as one who typically tramps the roads, the hobo as one who typically rides surreptitiously on freight trains.

A common application of hobo is to the migratory worker who roves about following such seasonal occupations as harvesting and crop picking.