Definition of tramp in US English:



[no object]
  • 1Walk heavily or noisily.

    ‘he tramped around the room’
    • ‘I tramped down the stairs after I mailed my letter.’
    • ‘She watched as they all tramped past her, avoiding her eye.’
    • ‘Brad and Julia tramped up the stairs, each carrying a tray laden with food and cups of coffee.’
    • ‘You're tramping through the jungle - you just get a feeling of what you're looking for.’
    • ‘Armed with a third key, I tramp up the stairs once more.’
    1. 1.1 Walk through or over a place wearily or reluctantly and for long distances.
      ‘we have tramped miles over mountain and moorland’
      • ‘I grabbed an ice pick off the sledge and tramped away from the camp towards the face of Portal Mountain.’
      • ‘She and her colleagues spent the next 4 hours tramping around the mountain slopes trying to catch sight of a trogon actually calling.’
      • ‘In September, 54 conscripts were arrested after abandoning their barracks in southern Russia and tramped nearly 35 miles to the city of Volgograd to protest at beatings by their superiors.’
      • ‘As summer bled its long days into the shortening evenings of autumn, I'd tramp in reluctantly with feet squidging in wet runners.’
      • ‘He could tramp through deep snow for hours without break, bitching and singing the whole way.’
      • ‘Which is just what one wants when tramping through the snow.’
    2. 1.2with object Tread or stamp on.
      ‘one of the few wines still tramped by foot’
      • ‘We had a good team of 7 people out this morning tramping the streets.’
      • ‘After tramping the streets for two days he had still not been able to find any relatives or friends.’
      • ‘But he had to tramp the dark streets for three whole nights before anyone would rob him.’
      • ‘Immediately, they began to see signs of the enemies' presence… grass that had been tramped by many feet, ruts from wagons, bits of discarded debris.’


  • 1A person who travels from place to place on foot in search of work or as a vagrant or beggar.

    • ‘One of them is the guy the old tramp described.’
    • ‘I turn around quickly and face what seems to be an old tramp.’
    • ‘The pair of alcoholic tramps started traveling together near Kansas City in 1998 and eventually made their way to Minneapolis.’
    • ‘The homeless tramp sleeps peacefully on the bench.’
    • ‘I had to face the drunken tramps and the scorn of those wannabe policemen and women: the ticket inspectors.’
    • ‘Of course he was in exile and did have a great affinity for those kinds of characters, for tramps and vagrants and displaced, placeless people.’
    • ‘Headway has also been made on getting the homeless off the streets as the amount of tramps and beggars seems minimal in comparison to major UK cities.’
    • ‘Armies of transient laborers filled seasonal jobs throughout the country, creating the great era of tramps and hoboes, 1870 to 1920.’
    • ‘The playground is now taken over by tramps and beggars.’
    • ‘The first batch, comprising of 14 children, were handed over by the district administration as part of their drive to clear the town of beggars and tramps.’
    • ‘My search for tramps has taken a side trip into terra incognita.’
    • ‘In this category fall some of the adaptive activities of psychotics, autists, pariahs, outcasts, vagrants, vagabonds, tramps, chronic drunkards and drug addicts.’
    • ‘Secondly, how come on the day of the royal visit there wasn't one tramp or beggar to be found on the street?’
    • ‘He associated with tramps and beggars, whores and ruffians.’
    • ‘After the tramp had washed his feet and his socks, he tip-toed over the gravel to the grass.’
    • ‘I noticed he was wearing those fingerless gloves, usually a bastion of the homeless tramp.’
    • ‘First a drunken tramp got on and started bawling and shouting and generally upsetting people.’
    • ‘Deserters from foreign armies, prisoners of war, criminals, vagabonds, tramps, and people whom the crimps had entrapped by fraud and violence were the bulk of the regiments.’
    • ‘Why wouldn't my attention be attracted by that man, since he was a beggar or a tramp, a veritable rainbow of dark-colored rags?’
    • ‘But then tramps and vagrants manage pretty well without any of those, although one couldn't say most look happy about it.’
    vagrant, vagabond, homeless person, derelict, down-and-out
    View synonyms
  • 2in singular The sound of heavy steps, typically of several people.

    ‘the tramp of marching feet’
    • ‘As the march moved off everyone knew instinctively that time was running out and that the guns were increasingly silencing the chants and the tramp of feet.’
    • ‘The hush swept across the great room as those near the entrance heard the first tramp of heavy feet.’
    • ‘There were no cartographers, no global positioning system, apart from the tramp of human feet in solemn perambulations.’
    • ‘Blue armour was visible, and the tramp of armoured feet was just audible, even above the roaring storm.’
    • ‘The tramp of those pale feet might interrupt the flow of his patronising patter.’
    footstep, step, footfall, tread, stamp, stomp, stomping
    View synonyms
  • 3in singular A long walk, typically a tiring one.

    ‘they start off on a tramp from Roxbury to New York’
    • ‘It is really a fine balance running a 26 km two-day tramp in under four hours.’
    trek, trudge, slog, hike, march, walk, constitutional, ramble, roam, wander
    View synonyms
  • 4usually as modifier A cargo vessel that carries goods among many different ports rather than sailing a fixed route.

    ‘a tramp steamer’
    • ‘A good question, and in reply we ask you to imagine a tramp steamer packed to the gunwales with volumes one, three and five as we speak chugging its way across the Atlantic.’
    • ‘Appropriately, he spends most of his days on tramp steamers, skiffs and barges.’
    • ‘The Dream was a deceptively slow looking tramp freighter about 50 meters long and twenty meters across at her widest point.’
    • ‘Mysteriously, after the first year, the girl disappeared - some said to work on a tramp steamer in the North Atlantic - and we often wondered whatever happened to her.’
    • ‘Having transferred to an old Lebanese tramp steamer, he became the ship's doctor, treating women who fainted in the heat.’
    • ‘It is worth remembering that the average size of steamers in the British tramp fleet was only 3,500 gross tons as late as 1910.’
    • ‘Poorer and sadder, the couple reunite and have to make their way home on a tramp steamer.’
    • ‘Uncle Julian hit the road before he got out of his teens, right in the middle of the Depression, and worked his way across the Atlantic as an oiler's pimp on a tramp steamer.’
    • ‘When this tramp steamer went down all 42 on board were drowned, making this one of the worst WW2 shipping losses not caused by enemy action.’
    • ‘Rather than coming from academia, he began by running away to sea to become a junior officer on the tramp freighter Benlawers.’
    • ‘Carr recounts the little-known World War II story about the survivors of a tramp steamer sunk in the summer of 1940.’
    • ‘The group has 400 vessels comprising oil tankers, tramps, passenger ships, container vessels and special cargo ships.’
    • ‘The Andromeda rescues some Wayist refugees traveling on board a tramp freighter.’
    • ‘British shipowners, however, had been slow to build tankers and in the tramp traders had lagged behind in adopting diesel propulsion.’
    • ‘It will appear to be just another tramp freighter, but is actually the disguised personal vessel of Lord Isloth.’
    • ‘When I left school in 1959 and joined the Merchant Navy, the cabin on a tramp steamer seemed like my first real home.’
  • 5North American informal, derogatory A woman who has many casual sexual encounters or relationships.

    • ‘I knew I shouldn't have trusted that little tramp with our secrets!’
    • ‘I rather thought you were more than a match for that little rebel tramp.’
    • ‘She is nothing more than a tramp that sleeps around.’
    • ‘She's had a lot of first kisses this year, the little tramp.’
    • ‘I hold this household together and you better pay me back for what I've done for you and that tramp mother of yours.’
    • ‘‘You dirty tramp,’ she screeched, her eyes bugging out.’
    • ‘I would be damned if I was going to stand here and watch this tramp flirt with him.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, I will not fear some tramp that basically grabbed my heart and stepped on it as if it was some squish toy.’
    • ‘What on earth was that little tramp yammering about now?’
    slut, promiscuous woman, prostitute, whore
    View synonyms
  • 6A metal plate protecting the sole of a boot.

    1. 6.1 The top of the blade of a spade.


Late Middle English (as a verb): probably of Low German origin. The noun dates from the mid 17th century.