"hobo"--plausibility it derived the shout "Ho bo!"

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Thu Jan 29 02:08:04 UTC 2004

Plausibility is evidently in the eye of the beholder. There's no
reason to question that hobos could shout "Ho" to one another, nor
that this "Ho" could be followed by "Bo" or "Boy." So hobos could
shout "Ho bo!" to each other,
and with enough people hearing this shout, the term "hobo" could
arise in reference to the people using it (hobos).

    Maybe the four hobos didn't present their varying degrees of
"hobo-ness" in just the order that the author relates. (On the other
hand, maybe they did.)
But the plausibility of the shout "Ho bo!" remains, and that's the
heart of the matter.

Gerald Cohen

At 10:20 PM -0500 1/27/04, Sam Clements wrote:
>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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