[Ads-l] Query about "hobo"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Mar 14 20:46:25 UTC 2016

Below is a message about hobo I sent to the Wombats mailing list in 2013.

The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang edited by
Jonathan Lighter has a valuable entry on hobo (pg 113 of volume 2)
that presents a few etymological hypotheses.

There was a thread about "hobo" on the American Dialect Society
mailing list in April 2012. Here is a link to a post on that thread.
It is possible to navigate via links to read other posts in the


Below is a link to the interesting 1885 article in the Chronicling
America database that was mentioned in the ADS thread. On the
newspaper page there is a discussion of the term "Hobo" near the
bottom of column 1:

St. Paul Daily Globe., November 30, 1885, Page 8, Image 9


Below is a link to an older article about "hobo" from the World Wide
Words website of Michael Quinion:



On Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 2:54 PM, Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at mst.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at MST.EDU>
> Subject:      Query about "hobo"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I've received a request from researcher Norm Cohen (no relation)=20
> about the origin of "hobo," and I offered to share his request with
> ads-l.  If anyone can help, please contact Norm directly and also
> please share the information with the entire listserv.
> His request appears beneath my signoff.
> Gerald Cohen
> [from N. Cohen]:
> "In 1981, in my book on American railroad songs, "Long Steel Rail," I
> reported what was then known about the origins of the word "hobo."  Is
> anyone aware of any information that has since come to  light on the
> subject?  Norm Cohen, ncohen at teleport.com."
> Thanks,
> Norm=
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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