Hobo Term and Expressions used through 1940s

Accommodation Car   -  the caboose of a train  

Angellina   -  a young inexperienced child

Bad Road   -   a train line rendered useless by some hobo's bad action   

Banjo   -   (1) a small portable frying pan;   (2) a short, "D" handled shovel    

Barnacle   -   a person who sticks to one job a year or more    

Beachcomber   -   a hobo who hangs around docks or seaports    

Big House   -   prison    

Bindle Stick   -   a collection of belongings wrapped in cloth and tied around a stick   

Bindlestiff   -   a hobo who carries a bindle   

Blowed-in-the-glass   -   a genuine, trustworthy individual   

'Bo   -   the common way one hobo referred to another: "I met that 'Bo on the way to Bangor last

Boil Up   -   specifically, to boil one's clothes to kill lice and their eggs; generally, to get oneself as clean
as possible    

Bone Polisher   -   a mean dog 

Bone Orchard   -   a graveyard   

Bull   -   a railroad officer   

Bullets   -   beans    

Buck   -   a Catholic priest good   for a dollar    

Burger   -   today's lunch    

C, H, and D   -   indicates an individual is Cold, Hungry, and Dry   (thirsty)     

California Blankets   -   newspapers, intended to be used for bedding   

Calling In   -   using another's campfire to   warm up or cook    

Cannonball   -   a fast train    

Carrying The Banner   -   keeping in constant motion so as to avoid being picked   up for loitering  to
keep from freezing    

Catch the Westbound   -   to die    

Chuck a Dummy   -   pretend to faint    

Cover With The Moon   -   sleep out in the open   

Cow Crate   -   a railroad stock car    

Crumbs   -   lice 

Docandoberry   -   anything that grows on the side of a river that's edible   

Doggin' it   -   traveling by bus, especially on   the Greyhound bus line    

Easy Mark   -   a hobo sign or mark that identifies a person or place   where one can get food and a place
to stay overnight  

Elevated   -   under the influence of drugs or alcohol    

Flip   -   to board a moving train    

Flop   -   a place to sleep, by extension, "Flophouse",   a cheap hotel    

Glad Rags   -   one's best clothes   

Graybacks   -   lice 

Grease the Track   -   to be run over by a train 

Gump   -   a chicken [9]    

Honey Dipping   -   working with a shovel in the sewer   

Hot   -   (1) a fugitive hobo;   (2) a decent meal: "I could use three hots and a flop"    

Hot Shot   -   a train with priority freight, stops rarely, goes   faster; synonym for "Cannonball"

Jungle   -   an area off a railroad where hobos camp and congregate    

Jungle Buzzard   -   a hobo or tramp who preys on his own    

Knowledge Bus   -   a school bus used for shelter    

Main Drag   -   the busiest road in a town   

Moniker / Monica   -   a nickname    

Mulligan   -   a type of community stew,   created by several hobos combining whatever food they have
or can collect   

Nickel Note   -   a five-dollar bill   

On the Fly   -   jumping a moving train    

Padding the Hoof   -   to travel by foot    

Possum Belly   -   to ride on the roof of a passenger car (one must lie flat, on   his/her stomach, to avoid
being blown off)    

Pullman   -   a railroad sleeper car; most were made by George   Pullman company    

Punk   -   any young kid    

Reefer   -   a compression of "refrigerator   car"    

Road Kid   -   a young hobo who apprentices himself to an older hobo   in order to learn the ways of the

Road Stake   -   the small amount of money a hobo may have in case of an   emergency    

Rum Dum   -   a drunkard 

Sky Pilot   -   a preacher or minister   

Soup Bowl   -   a place to get soup, bread and drinks   

Snipes   -   cigarette butts "sniped" (e.g., in ashtrays)    

Spare Biscuits   -   looking for food in garbage cans    

Stemming   -   panhandling or mooching along the streets    

Tokay Blanket   -   drinking alcohol to stay warm 

Yegg   -   a traveling professional thief, or burglar