Hobo signs

This page lists all the various symbols in the Hobo signs category.

A hobo is a migratory worker or homeless vagabond—especially one who is penniless. The term originated in the Western (probably Northwestern) United States around 1890. Unlike "tramps"—who work only when they are forced to- and "bums" who do not work at all, "hobos" are itinerant workers.

It is unclear exactly when hobos first appeared on the American railroading scene. With the end of the American Civil War in the 1860s, many discharged veterans returning home began hopping freight trains. Others looking for work on the American frontier followed the railways west aboard freight trains in the late 19th century.

To cope with the difficulty of such a lifestyle, hobos developed a system of symbols, or a code. Hobos would write this code with chalk or coal to provide directions, information, and warnings to other hobos. Some signs included "turn right here", "beware of hostile railroad police", "dangerous dog", "food available here", and so on.

Symbols in this category:

Scared people

A sign from the French hobo system indicating that the people at this location are easily frightened.

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Scared people (alternative)

Hobo sign with a dual meaning:

British- people here are unsympathetic

Swedish- be careful or they'll call the police

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Sleep for the night

French hobo sign- where this appears it means that you can sleep for the night at that location.

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Stone (alchemy) and working people

This symbol denotes two specific things in two different fields.

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Thieves

An indication that thieves are in the area.

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Tramps on the road

An English hobo sign that indicates there are more tramps on the current road.

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Vicious dog

This sign from the French hobo system means "here they have a vicious dog".

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Vigilant police

A sign from the French hobo system that warns of alert police officers and to be careful.

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Warning

A hobo sign with distinctive meanings in three countries:

Sweden- unfriendly people live here

USA- get out of here

France- this place is dangerous

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Watch out

Although this sign has astrological as well as meteorological significance, in the United States system of hobo signs, it means that authorities are on the watch and to be careful.

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Watch out for dogs

A French hobo sign that warns of dogs in the yard.

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Watchful neighbors

A French hobo sign indicating watchful neighbors.

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We have already been here

In the French system of Hobo signs, these three lines indicate that this areas has already been visited.

For the American meaning of this same symbol, see 'Not safe'.

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Work

French hobo sign- where this appears it means that one can get a couple of days worth of work.

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Work (alternative)

French hobo sign- where this appears it means that one can get a couple of days worth of work.

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"Hobo signs Symbols." Symbols.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 18 Dec. 2018. <https://www.symbols.com/category/52>.

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