Hobo Signs

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

Hobo Signs

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:

A kind lady lives here

A cat signifies that a kind lady lives here.

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A place to sleep

This symbol possesses a number of different connotations (most notably as the "equals" concept in mathematics), but in the British system of hobo signs it indicates that here you can find a place to sleep for the night.

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A French hobo sign indicating that this dwelling is wired by an alarm.

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Angry dog

A Swedish hobo sign indicating the danger posed by dogs in the area.

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A symbol from the French system of hobo signs indicating that an authority figure lives at this location.

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Avoid this place

A French hobo sign that says to stay away, this place is dangerous.

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Avoid this place (alternative)

A French hobo sign that says to stay away, this place is dangerous.

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Bad dogs and people

A Swedish hobo sign indicating that both aggressive dogs and aggressive people live here.

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Bad policeman

French hobo sign- the policeman in this area is bad.

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Bad water

A hobo symbol that signifies water not to be drink.

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Bad-tempered man

A house with this sign on it means that a bad-tempered man lives inside.

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Barking dog

A horizontal zigzag signifies a barking dog.

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Barking dogs

A hobo sign indicating that barking dogs are in the vicinity and the danger they possess.

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Beware of danger

French hobo sign that basically says "watch out".

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Beware of gun

The man inside the house has a gun.

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    Use the citation below to add this symbols category to your bibliography:


    "Hobo Signs Symbols." Symbols.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 14 Jul 2024. <https://www.symbols.com/category/52/Hobo+Signs>.

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