flophouse

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English[edit]

Bunks in a flophouse, circa 1890.

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From flop +‎ house, originally hobo slang, presumably from slang flop (lie down to sleep).[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

flophouse (plural flophouses)

  1. (US, slang) A cheap hotel or boarding house where many people sleep in large rooms. [from 20th c.]
    • 1904, McClure’s Magazine, November 1904:[1]
      In one of [Cincinnati’s] slum districts stands the Silver Moon, a “flop house” (i.e., a house where the occupants are “flopped” out of their hanging bunks by letting down the ropes).
    • 1982, TC Boyle, Water Music, Penguin 2006, p. 34:
      He was born out back of a twopenny flophouse in what the wags called “The Holy Land” […].

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References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 flophouse” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).