AskDefine | Define tramp

Dictionary Definition



1 a disreputable vagrant; "a homeless tramp"; "he tried to help the really down-and-out bums" [syn: hobo, bum]
2 a person who engages freely in promiscuous sex [syn: swinger]
3 a foot traveler; someone who goes on an extended walk (for pleasure) [syn: hiker, tramper]
4 a heavy footfall; "the tramp of military boots"
5 a commercial steamer for hire; one having no regular schedule [syn: tramp steamer]
6 a long walk usually for exercise or pleasure [syn: hike]


1 travel on on foot, especially on a walking expedition; "We went tramping about the state of Colorado"
2 walk heavily and firmly, as when weary, or through mud; "Mules plodded in a circle around a grindstone" [syn: slog, footslog, plod, trudge, pad]
3 cross on foot; "We had to tramp the creeks"
4 move about aimlessly or without any destination, often in search of food or employment; "The gypsies roamed the woods"; "roving vagabonds"; "the wandering Jew"; "The cattle roam across the prairie"; "the laborers drift from one town to the next"; "They rolled from town to town" [syn: roll, wander, swan, stray, roam, cast, ramble, rove, range, drift, vagabond]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • , /træmp/, /tr

Extensive Definition

In British English usage a Tramp is a long term homeless person who travels from place to place as an itinerant vagrant, traditionally walking or hiking all year round. They often left chalk signs on houses or at various points along their traditional routes. They also developed a slang language of their own.
While some tramps may do odd jobs from time to time, unlike other temporarily homeless people they do not seek out regular work and support themselves by other means such as begging or scavenging. This is in contrast to:
  • hobos who travel from place to place (often by catching rides on freight trains) looking for work.
  • schnorrers, who travel from city to city begging. “Schnorrer” is a Yiddish term.
  • bum, a stationary homeless person who does not work, and who begs or steals for a living in one place
Both terms, "tramp" and "hobo" (and the distinction between them), were in common use between the 1880s and the 1940s, and were not limited to the Great Depression.
Like "hobo" and "bum", the word "tramp" is considered somewhat vulgar in American English usage, having been subsumed in more polite contexts by words such as "homeless person" or "vagrant". In colloquial American English, the word "tramp" can also mean a sexually promiscuous female or even prostitute.
It remains relatively more common in current British English, but has also been somewhat replaced with "homeless person". Tramps used to be known in England and Wales as 'gentlemen of the road' .

See also

tramp in German: Tramp
tramp in Dutch: Landloper
tramp in Swedish: Luffare
tramp in Russian: Бомж

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Arab, Bowery bum, airing, alien, amble, backpack, baggage, bat around, beach bum, beachcomber, beggar, beggarly fellow, blighter, bo, budmash, bum, bummer, cadger, caitiff, case, character, chug on, constitutional, count ties, crackpot, crank, defile, derelict, devil, divagate, dogie, down-and-out, down-and-outer, drift, drifter, drunkard, eccentric, fanatic, file, file off, flit, floater, footfall, footslog, footstep, forced march, gad, gad about, gallivant, gamin, gamine, go about, go on parade, go the rounds, good-for-naught, good-for-nothing, goose-step, guttersnipe, gypsy, hermit, hike, hit the road, hit the trail, hobo, homeless waif, human wreck, hussy, idler, jade, jaunt, jezebel, jog on, knock about, knock around, kook, landloper, lazzarone, loafer, lone wolf, loner, losel, lowlife, lumber, march, mauvais sujet, maverick, mean wretch, meander, mendicant, mendicant friar, mendicant order, meshuggenah, mooch, moocher, mucker, mudlark, mush, natural, no-good, nomadize, nonconformist, nut, odd fellow, oddball, oddity, original, outsider, panhandler, parade, pariah, pauvre diable, peg, peregrinate, pererrate, peripatetic journey, peripateticism, piker, pilgarlic, plod, plod along, plug, plug along, poor creature, poor devil, promenade, prowl, queer duck, queer fish, queer specimen, ragamuffin, ragman, ragpicker, ramble, range, rara avis, roam, rounder, rove, rover, rub on, run about, sad case, sad sack, saunter, schlep, schnorrer, screwball, scrounger, ski bum, skid-row bum, slattern, slog, slut, solitary, stamp, step, stiff, stodge, stomp, straggle, stray, street Arab, street arab, street urchin, stretch, stroll, strumpet, stump, sundowner, surf bum, swagman, swagsman, tatterdemalion, tennis bum, thud, traipse, tramper, trample, tread, trek, truant, trudge, turn, turnpiker, type, urchin, vag, vagabond, vagabondize, vagrant, vaurien, waif, waifs and strays, walk, walk the tracks, walkabout, walking tour, wander, wastrel, wayfare, worthless fellow, wretch, zealot
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