what is the difference between a vagrant and a hobo

Today I want to talk about the difference between a vagrant and a hobo.

Although you may have heard these phrases used interchangeably, their origins and definitions are genuinely different. Starting with the word “vagrant,” A vagrant is someone who travels from one location to another without a permanent residence or employment. The root of the term is the Latin word vagari, which means “to wander.” Vagrants tend to be homeless, underprivileged, and marginalized by society. To make ends meet, they can turn to beg, steal, or perform odd jobs.

On the other hand, a hobo is a particular kind of vagrant  who uses trains to get around. The name “hobo” has no clear origin, although some potential beginnings include “ho, boy” (a greeting among railway workers), “hoe-boy” (a farmhand searching for work) and “hoboes” (a 19th-century term for migratory labourers). Although they frequently go by the monikers of tramps or bums, hoboes prefer to refer to themselves as “travelers” or “adventurers”. Hobos adhere to a set of moral principles that include kindness, compassion, honesty, and refraining from violence.

So what are some of the main differences between a vagrant and a hobo explained? Here are some points to consider:

  • A hobo travels by rail, but a vagrant can travel by any means.
  • A hobo is always on the go, whereas a vagrant may spend a long period in one spot.
  • A hobo may have a goal or a desire to pursue, but a wandering vagrant may not have a purpose or direction in life.
  • A hobo may be adored or romanticised by some people, but an outcast vagrant may be despised or dismissed by society.

These are, of course, generalizations, and there could be overlaps and exceptions between the two groups. But I do hope that this piece helped you understand the distinction between a vagrant and a hobo. Please comment below and share this article with your friends if you liked it.

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