a. One who wanders from place to place without a permanent home or a means of livelihood.
b. Archaic A wanderer; a rover.
2. One who lives on the streets or constitutes a public nuisance.
3. An animal occurring beyond its normal range; an accidental.
1. Wandering from place to place and lacking any means of support.
2. Living on the streets or constituting a public nuisance.
3. Inconstant or capricious; wayward: "She was resolved to win my vagrant fancy" (Frank Harris).
4. Moving in a random fashion; having no fixed direction or pattern: vagrant ice floes; a vagrant aroma.
5. Being beyond its normal range; accidental. Used of animals.
[Middle English vagraunt, probably alteration of Old French wacrant, present participle of wacrer, to wander, of Germanic origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.