"hobo" -- A hobo author in 1911 suggested its etymology

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Wed Jan 28 03:20:13 UTC 2004

Jerry's story said:

 <<Take for instance, the word "Hobo".  I once met, coming out of Cleveland,
Ohio, several tramps.  The first one who passed said: 'HELLO BOY, how is the
city for work?" The next one, who had been on the road a little longer,
greeted me with: "H'O BOY, which way are you bound?" The  third tramp had
been on the road some time, because his address was still more abbreviated.
He said: "HO BO, which way?" The fourth had the "HOBO" cut in two, when he
said: "Say, BO, how is the town?" meaning the police, etc. etc.' >>

Great story, but no doubt made up by the teller.  Amazing that those four
tramps were illustrative of the varying degrees of "hobo-ness" that would
lead them to use the precisely different nuances of the word  to illustrate
the story.

Sam Clements

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