A vagrant is someone who is homeless and poor and may wander from place to place. In fiction a vagrant often is a criminal, but a real-life vagrant might just be a person who has lost a job and family and lives off the streets with help from charity.

Many synonyms for vagrant imply laziness and criminal behavior, such as "bum," "tramp," and "vagabond," and some vagrants do make money through crime. Often, though, a vagrant is a down-on-his-luck person who has lost work, family, or health and lives on the streets. European roots for vagrant point to "wander" or "wander about," and a vagrant is a wanderer — a man or woman without a place to call home.

Definitions of vagrant
  1. noun
    a wanderer who has no established residence or visible means of support
    synonyms: drifter, floater, vagabond
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    a vagrant living on a beach
    a tramp who habitually arrives at sundown
    bum, hobo, tramp
    a disreputable vagrant
    dosser, street person
    someone who sleeps in any convenient place
    type of:
    have-not, poor person
    a person with few or no possessions
    bird of passage, roamer, rover, wanderer
    someone who leads a wandering unsettled life
  2. adjective
    continually changing especially as from one abode or occupation to another
    vagrant hippies of the sixties”
    synonyms: aimless, drifting, floating, vagabond
    not settled or established
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