From Middle English vagraunt (“wandering about”), from Anglo-Norman wakerant, wacrant, waucrant, walcrant (“vagrant”), Old French wacrant, waucrant (“wandering about”), present participle of wacrer, waucrer, walcrer (“to wander, wander about as a vagabond”), from Frankish *walkrōn (“to wander about”), frequentative form of *walkōn (“to walk, wander, trample, stomp, full”), from Proto-Germanic *walkōną, *walkaną (“to twist, turn, roll about, full”), from Proto-Indo-European *walg-, *walk- (“to twist, turn, move”). Cognate with Old High German walchan, walkan (“to move up and down, press together, full, walk, wander”), Middle Dutch walken (“to knead, full”), Old English wealcan (“to roll”), Old English ġewealcan (“to go, walk about”), Old Norse valka (“to wander”), Latin valgus (“bandy-legged, bow-legged”). More at walk.
vagrant (plural vagrants)
- A person without a home; a wanderer.
- Every morning before work, I see that poor vagrant around the neighborhood begging for food.
- 1785, William Cowper, “The Garden”, in The Task, a Poem, in Six Books. By William Cowper [...] To which are Added, by the Same Author, An Epistle to Joseph Hill, Esq. Tirocinium, or a Review of Schools, and The History of John Gilpin, London: Printed for J[oseph] Johnson, No. 72 St. Paul's Church-Yard, OCLC 221351486; republished as The Task. A Poem. In Six Books. To which is Added, Tirocinium: or, A Review of Schools, new edition, Philadelphia, Pa.: Printed for Thomas Dobson, bookseller, in Second-street, second door above Chestnut-street, 1787, OCLC 23630717, page 87:
- 'Tis the cruel gripe, / That lean hard-handed poverty inflicts, / The hope of better things, the chance to win, / The wiſh to ſhine, the thirſt to be amus'd, / That at the found of Winter's hoary wing, / Unpeople all our counties, of ſuch herds, / Of flutt'ring, loit'ring, cringing, begging, looſe, / And wanton vagrants, as make London, vaſt / And boundless as it is, a crowded coop.
- (biology, especially ornithology) An animal, typically a bird, found outside its species’ usual range.
- (entomology) A widely-distributed Asian butterfly, Vagrans egista, family Nymphalidae.
- (person without a home or job): beggar, down-and-out, drifter, tramp, vagabond
- (wanderer): wanderer, itinerant
- See also Thesaurus:vagabond
- Moving without certain direction; wandering; erratic; unsettled.
- That beauteous Emma vagrant courses took.
- While leading this vagrant and miserable life, Johnson fell in love.
- Wandering from place to place without any settled habitation.
- a vagrant beggar