antedating "hobo" 1885

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sun May 24 13:01:56 UTC 2009

The list archives has "hobo" in Kansas City Star, April 19, 1888.

St. Paul daily globe. (Saint Paul, Minn.) 1884-1896
November 30, 1885, Page 8, col. 1, Image 9

The Hobo, the "Workers," the Crook and Tramp at home--Their Slang and Their
Something About Their Most Salient Characteristics--How They Act and Talk
The genus tramp, i.e., the "bum" or "Hobo" is usually made up of a
conglomeration of human outcasts....
....An overcoat is a "Ben." Hobo is a call to attract attention, the same as
Hello in the average citizen's vernacular. It is pronounced with the
long sound
of the vowel, o, in both syllables, and is sometimes uttered with the aspirate
omitted, as "Obo," and is the shibboleth of the fraternity of bums and crooks.
It is now commonly applied by them as a generic term to designate the order.
Hence "Hobo," when used in a substantative sense, means tramp or crook, as the
case may be. For instance, when one says "That man is a Hobo," he means tramp
or crook..... [col. 2]...further particulars will be postponed until another
issue of The Globe. Rhue Saga.

Stephen Goranson

for more context see:

The American Dialect Society -

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