In British English and traditional American 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:

  • bum, a stationary homeless person who does not work, and who begs or steals for a living in one place.
  • hobo, a homeless person who travels from place to place (often by illegally catching rides on freight trains) looking for work.
  • schnorrer, a person who travels from city to city begging. Schnorrer is a Yiddish term.

Both terms, "tramp" and "hobo" (and the distinction between them), were in common use between the 1880s and the 1940s. Their populations and the usage of the terms increased during 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 euphemistically in England and Wales as "gentlemen of the road".

See also

Some People are tramps.. take steven morris for example :)


External links

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