Hobo Glossary (1 Viewer) Megathread 

-- Hobo Glossary --
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TBD (mark countries the word is used in after what kind of word it is)

Squeegee Kid - Cleans car windows while traffic is stopped at an intersection in exchange for money. Not as common as it used to be since the passing of The Safe Streets Act in Ontario.


United Kingdom:


United States:

- Noun
Railroad police

Busk - Noun
To play an instrument and/or sing for donations on the street.

Carhartt - Noun
Overalls that many travelers wear, usually still called Carhartts even if they're another brand name.

Fly a sign- Verb
Panhandle by hanging out with a sign that solicits donations, or makes a joke that will encourage folks to donate. "Traveling, Broke, and Hungry" is the classic here; "Money Needed For Beer [or Weed] Research" is another.

Freddie - Noun
A yellow box on the back of a train, looks like this and flashes. Useful for knowing which was the train is going. When cars are put together by the yard dog, these are added when the train is getting ready to leave the yard.

Grainer - Noun
Train cars that carry grain, very uniquely shaped. There is also a Canadian variant.

Ground score- Noun or verb
Anything useful or interesting found lying on the ground/road/sidewalk, or the act of picking up such things.

Homebum - Noun
What people usually think of when they hear the word homeless. Catch all for a non-hobo houseless person who does not travel, but stays home.

Home guard - Noun
Rarely used by some homebums in California to differentiate themselves from other non-hobos. Usually very knowledgeable about places to find food, work and where to stay away from.

Hop out - Noun, verb
1) Location where you wait for a freight train to stop; sometimes also referred to as a hop out spot.
2) To leave town on a freight train.

House punk/Housie- Noun, pejorative
A housed person who likes punk rock/punk culture, or dresses punk, as opposed to a houseless traveler punk. Pejorative because "housies" are seen as hypocrites/posers who don't really live their punk values.

Kick-down - Verb or noun
Money or goods donated by someone, or the act of giving such things.

Oogle - Noun, pejorative
An idiot houseless traveling person who makes trouble for others. A person who pretends to be a houseless traveler but has a house to return to and has a credit card; possibly a myth or extremely rare. Sometimes used in an endearing manner between friends, sometimes used to start a fight.

Rubber tramp - Noun
A hobo who owns a vehicle and travels with it.

Schwilly kid - Noun
A young drunk hobo who gets very drunk and often wants to fight, known to blow up the spot and throw bottles. Often called an oogle. Also an adjective: "schwilly", meaning drunk.

Skank - Noun
The bandana most train riders wear around their necks. Usually tied so they can cover their mouths. Harkens back to train engineers who wore them. Origin of it being called a skank unknown, please comment if you know.

Space bag - Noun
Boxed wine, often taken out of the box due to its size.

Spange - Verb
Shorthand for "spare changing", also known as panhandling: asking folks "Got any spare change?" [coins or small denomination bills].

Squat - Noun
A building that is generally previously abandoned that is occupied by those that are houseless. In most cases, the occupants don't try to adversely possess the building.

Stick and poke- Noun
Homemade tattoo done by sticking and poking India ink into the skin, usually with a thick needle.

Unit - Noun
The engine cars of a freight train. Usually in the front of the train but in some cases they're also at the back of the train.

Yard dog - Noun
An engine car that attaches other train cars together in the yard.

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