The Meaning of Vagabond: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of vagabond? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word vagabond, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word vagabond mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and other dictionaries like Collins English Dictionary and American Heritage, the word vagabond can be used as a noun or adjective. As a noun, this word means a person who is nomadic and wanders from place to place with no fixed home. As an adjective, the word vagabond means wandering or leading an unsettled or disreputable life. This person may roam from destination to destination and not have a permanent home, abode, or visible means of support. Some people enjoy living a rogue vagabond life with no settled home, fixed place of established residence, or occupation or means of honest livelihood. Others would feel that being on a trip of indeterminate destination in search of food and shelter would be traumatizing. Qualities characteristic of a vagabond include being an idle wanderer for a length of time, not having ties to family or friends or living a carefree life. There are even vagabonds of the sea that cruise pirate ships on an irregular course. Some may believe that a vagabond is an irresponsible person, but some of these rootless wanderer souls prefer to not be tied down by settled habitation. A vagabond is not a worthless person or vagrant hippie for wanting to roam and rove free. The pronunciation of vagabond is ˈva-gə-ˌbänd.

Many different languages also contain words that mean vagabond. You may have noticed that some of these words and phrases look similar to the word Vagabond. These are called cognates, which are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. Below is a list of translations of vagabond provided by Word Sense.

  •  Russian: бродя́га‎ (masc.), бомж‎ (masc.)
  •  Lower Sorbian: dundak‎ (masc.)
  •  Spanish: vagabundo‎ (masc.)
  •  Georgian: მოხეტიალე‎
  •  Navajo: naʼałjidí‎
  •  Danish: vagabond‎ (common), landevejsridder‎ (common), landstryger‎ (common), stodder‎ (common)
  •  Serbo-Croatian: skitnica‎ (masc.), tumaralo‎ (masc.), vagabund‎ (masc.)
  •  Volapük: (♂♀) gliban‎, (♂) higliban‎, (♀) jigliban‎
  •  Maori: tipiwhenua‎, kōripi‎
  •  Esperanto: vagulo‎
  •  Finnish: pummi‎, kulkuri‎, irtolainen‎, asunnoton‎
  •  Crimean Tatar: bıralqı‎
  •  Dutch: vagebond‎ (masc.)
  •  Portuguese: andarilho‎ (masc.)
  •  Mandarin: 流浪漢‎, 流浪汉‎ (liúlànghàn)
  •  German: Landstreicher‎ (masc.), Landstreicherin‎ (fem.)
  •  Norman: paillard‎ (masc.), vacâbond‎ (masc.)
  •  French: vagabond‎ (masc.), vagabonde‎ (fem.)
  •  Bulgarian: бездомник‎, скитник‎, клошар‎
  •  Japanese: 放浪者‎ (ほうろうしゃ, hōrōsha), 風来坊‎ (fūraibō) 

How can the word vagabond be used in a sentence?

The word vagabond can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definition. You can also make flashcards or a quiz for yourself. Try using this word of the day in a sentence to memorize its definition.  Below are many examples of the word vagabond.

The cast of the play took a vagabond voyage to Joshua Tree after the show closed. They never wanted to return to everyday life.

While her family wanted her to settle down and get married, Marina preferred to live the life of a vagabond on the prairie, watching the cattle roam and never knowing where she might turn next.

The young child was mesmerised by the vagrant hippies of the vagabond tribe that made its way through town. His mother tried to curb his interest, but he thought that the family living style and relaxed nature of the vagabonds was quite appealing.

What is the origin of the word vagabond?

According to Etymonline, the word vagabond has been used as an adjective since the early 15th century. Earlier, this adjective was vacabond in the 1400s and as the Middle English vagabonde. This comes from the Old French vagabond and Old French vacabond meaning wandering or unsteady, a 14th century word. This comes from the Late Latin vagabundus/Late Latin vagābundus meaning wandering or strolling about, from the Latin vagari/Latin vagārī  meaning wander, from the Latin vagus and the gerundive suffix bundus. The word vagabond has been used as a noun since 1400, from the earlier wagabund in Middle English in 1311. Related words include the adjective vague.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word vagabond?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word vagabond (adj./n.). These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are a great way to avoid repeating yourself and a way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word vagabond is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  unsettled
  •  wayward
  •  wandering
  •  wayfaring
  •  roaming
  •  perambulatory
  •  rascal
  •  travelling
  •  tourist
  •  pilgrim
  •  destitute
  •  strolling
  •  drifting
  •  sauntering
  •  nomadic
  •  wanderer
  •  errant
  •  rootless
  •  haji
  •  trailblazer
  •  transient
  •  perambulant
  •  rambling
  •  itinerate
  •  fly-by-night
  •  footloose
  •  wayfarer
  •  shiftless
  •  aimless
  •  prodigal
  •  unsettles
  •  pathfinder
  •  roving
  •  gypsy
  •  migratory
  •  fancy-free
  •  explorer
  •  peripatetic
  •  mendicant
  •  rambler
  •  shifting
  •  idle
  •  stray
  •  down-and-out
  •  pioneer
  •  vagrant
  •  trekker
  •  straggling
  •  moving
  •  rover
  •  itinerant
  •  journeying
  •  nomad
  •  tramp

There are also numerous different words that mean the opposite of the word vagrant. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are a great way to expand your English vocabulary. This list of antonyms is also provided by Thesaurus.

  •  steady
  •  set
  •  established
  •  nailed
  •  still
  •  hitched
  •  rigid
  •  locked
  •  tenacious
  •  firm
  •  settled
  •  tight
  •  fixed
  •  immovable
  •  situated
  •  quiet
  •  steadfast
  •  made fast
  •  secure
  •  immotile
  •  located
  •  fast
  •  stable
  •  attached
  •  solid
  •  anchored
  •  rooted
  •  permanent
  •  stiff
  •  immobile
  •  hooked

Overall, the word vagabond can either be used as a noun or adjective. This word refers to a wanderer or person who does not have a specified home, and can also be used as a descriptor for said wanderer.


  1. vagabond | Origin and meaning of vagabond | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  2. Vagabond | Definition of Vagabond | Merriam-Webster 
  3. VAGABOND Synonyms: 55 Synonyms & Antonyms for VAGABOND | Thesaurus 
  4. FIXED Synonyms: 137 Synonyms & Antonyms for FIXED | Thesaurus 
  5. vagabond: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense