Culture

30 Weird Slang Terms Old-Timey Hobos Actually Used 

Kellen Perry
Updated August 16, 2019 14.8k votes 1.8k voters 79.9k views 30 items

List Rules Vote up the outdated bits of hobo terminology you're most eager to use on a regular basis.

Are you tired of 21st century lingo like woke, fleek, tho, adorbs, or [INSERT HOT NEW SLANG HERE]? Maybe it's time to borrow a corn liquor-soaked page from late 19th- and early 20th-century vagrants and start using some old-timey hobo slang!

Not all hobo terminology or historical hobo words are fit for 21st-century sensibilities, however. Telling your friends you'll meet them in the "lee of a reefer," as cool as that sounds, is meaningless unless you are literally going to join them in a refrigerated boxcar. There are also some things hobos used to say that are unforgivably racist and better left unmentioned. But the list below features some hot hobo slang you can safely integrate into your day-to-day life.

So go twist a dream (if you're so inclined), pour a hot cup of pile driver, and check out some of the best hobo slang to bump gums with your friends about.

list ordered by
1
Dead Soldier

An empty bottle of booze on the side of the road.

2
Coffin Nails

Cigarettes, cuz they'll put you in the bone orchard.

3
Bone Orchard

A graveyard.

4
Cupid's Itch

Venereal disease.

5
Nickel Note

A five-dollar bill.

6
Cabbage Head

A hopeless burnout; a drug user incapable of recovery.

7
How Strong Are You?

"How much cash do you have on you?"

8
Bump Gums

To chat about insignificant things.

9
Scrape The Mug

To shave your face.

10
Ghost Story

A lie told to explain your tardiness or absence.

11
Grinders

Your teeth.

12
Wood Butcher

A carpenter.

13
Adam And Eve On A Raft

How you order two fried eggs on toast, of course.

14
Pile Driver

Good, strong coffee.

15
Knowledge Box

A small country schoolhouse.

16
Twist A Dream

To roll a cigarette.

17
Throw Your Guts

To snitch.

18
Thin Ones

Coins worth less than quarters.

19
Axle Grease

Butter.

20
Tin Roof

A drink that's on the house.

21
Eat Snowballs

To stay in colder climates during the winter.

22
Bazoo

Mouth, derisively: "Put a cork in your bazoo!"

23
Toppings

Dessert.

24
Prone The Body

To rest, horizontally.

25
Decorate The Mahogany

To buy drinks for the whole crew.