Date: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 15:24:51 +0900


Subject: Re: HOBO: another antedate

Since this is "another antedate", I may have missed some discussion of this earlier. (I was off

ADS-L most of the summer). Does anyone know any etymological tales about "hobo". In looking

at Japanese loanwords in English, I have run across people who claimed that "hobo" came from the

Japanese word "ho:ro:" (those are long o's) which means things like "vagrancy" etc. Regrettably

I don't even remember where I read this now; it sounded so silly at the time that I didn't make

a note of it. (True this Japanese "r" gets heard at "l" and "r" and even "d" in English, but I

don't know of anycases where it's turned into a "b". . .)

Danny Long

Barry A. Popik wrote:

"Hobo" was extremely popular around the turn of the century, much as

"homeless" is now. The dictionaries have 1889, from American English.

This is from the New Orleans Picayune, 19 August 1848, pg. 2, col. 4: