Origin of "hobo" (1888); "Hot dog" and "pants" (1870, 1886)

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Thu Jun 29 14:44:18 UTC 2006

The Proquest search I did, as described in my earlier post, had turned
up several instances of the phrase  "order of tramps" used in the sense
of "classification", in  the fashion of zoologists systemitizing species
of animals.  I was looking for the sense of "fraternity" or
"brotherhood", a group having a secret insider's language, &c.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2006 2:12 pm
Subject: Re: Origin of "hobo" (1888); "Hot dog" and "pants" (1870, 1886)

>        Here is an alternative and less detailed account of the origin
> of "hobo":
>        <<The term "hobo" was not originally of evil significance.  It
> originated in the west, when the great tide of humanity swept in that
> direction; and it was applied to the many who, failing of their first
> hopes, were forced to the necessity of tramping from community to
> community in quest of employment.  A hobo is a better sort of man
> than a
> tramp, has more self-respect, is usually young, and may, I believe, be
> called a tramp in the first stage.>>
> "Tramps and Hoboes," in 20 The Railway Agent and Station Agent 25
> (Sept.1898) (via Google Books).
>        Some additional "order of tramps" references:
>        Martha Finley, Christmas with Grandma Elsie (1888) (Gutenberg
> text):  "In traversing the wood they came upon a man leaning idly
> against a tree, in a lounging attitude, with his hands in his
> pockets, a
> half consumed cigar in his mouth.
>        He was a stranger to the children, and from, his shabby,
> soiledclothing, unkempt locks, and unshaven face, it was evident he
> belongedto the order of tramps."
>        Ambrose Bierce, The Death of Halpin Frayser (1891):  "I'm
> boundto admit that a more unshaven, unshorn, unkempt, and
> uneverything wretch
> I never saw outside the ancient and honorable order of tramps."
> John Baker
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list