I am looking for the best word for a person who is continually moving from place to place without good reason, job or fixed home.


8 Answers 8


Drifter is probably the best fit here, as it doesn't have too many connotations, as nomad, vagabond, and itinerant do.

Naturally, it must be added that the context will ultimately determine the best word-choice. Tramp, nomad, vagabond or even adventurer might well be better words; the choice depends on your specific situation.

  • Thanks for thought! I thing drifter is better. But is it good for UK English as well? Jul 30, 2011 at 23:43
  • As far as I know, it is.
    – Daniel
    Jul 31, 2011 at 2:42
  • 2
    I would argue that drifter has plenty of connotations, few of them positive. I wouldn't really want my daughter dating someone who was described as a drifter (granted, right now I wouldn't want my daughter dating anyone, since she's currently three years old). It certainly fits the meaning in the original question, though.
    – Nicholas
    Jul 31, 2011 at 5:18
  • @Nicholas - you meant that drifter is the best fit in the original question or not... i ask because i really didn't get it :) Jul 31, 2011 at 9:01
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    Yes, I think drifter is the best fit for the original question--"a person is continually moving from place to place without good reason, job or fixed home." The question didn't state whether or not any other connotations, whether positive or negative, were desirable. "Drifter" is an excellent fit for the definition given, and unlike "hobo" or "bum" it doesn't necessarly mean "homeless" or "poor," but definitely has some negative connotations.
    – Nicholas
    Jul 31, 2011 at 9:45

Nouns, in order of closeness to your specifications:

  1. Vagabond

  2. Vagrant

  3. Drifter

  4. Hobo

  5. Nomad

  6. Bohemian

Adjectives that you may use to describe a person as such:

  1. Itinerant

  2. Transient

  • 1
    What about drifter? I heard it as well... Jul 30, 2011 at 23:15
  • 1
    I am confirming the word with an answer.
    – Daniel
    Jul 30, 2011 at 23:22
  • 2
    Vagabond was the first word that came to my mind.
    – surfasb
    Jul 31, 2011 at 7:21
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    Just wooow! You English people has a lot of words for travelers.. Jul 31, 2011 at 8:52
  • wanderer
  • seeker
  • rambler
  • traveler
  • wayfarer
  • itinerant (can be used as a noun)

I remember the word from Julian Assange's trial

The judge expressed his own concerns over Assange's rich and powerful supporters, like Australian documentarian John Pilger... The one laugh at the hearing this morning came when the judge scoffed at using Pilger as a surety since he was just "another peripatetic (italics added) Australian." Even Assange cracked a smile at that one.


Rover, Wanderer, Nomad, Vagabond, call me what you will.


I was thinking vagrant, but since it's already been said, how about bum?


It has so become associated with a popular musical group that nobody mentioned:

Rolling Stone

Definition of rolling stone in English:

rolling stone


A person who is unwilling to settle for long in one place.

‘he was a rolling stone, with no ties to anyone or anyplace’

(Although I personally do not condone the Oxford English Dictionary's use of ‘any place’ in an example.)

  • My goodness, this is an old post. No idea why it came up again, but happy to add something extra.
    – David
    Jul 7, 2017 at 19:55

All the sensible recommendations seem to have been made, so how about King of the Road? You might also consider road scholar if you're looking for something humorous.

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