- One in a state of vagrancy; one guilty of vagrancy. At common law, a vagrant was originally understood to be an idle person without visible means of support, who, though able to work for his maintenance, refused to do so. The idea connected with the word "vagrant" or "vagrancy" also had connected with it, and as a part of it, not only an idle person, but one whose business, pursuit, or occupation, or want of it, was vicious to society, and one who loitered or stayed about immoral places. The English vagrant acts, as in effect defined by old English statutes and referred to in 4 Bl Comm 169, also tended to show that this was the idea of a vagrant. Under modern legislation in many states of the Union, vagrants are defined to be and are punished for pursuing a business or occupation or profession of a vicious, illegal, or demoralizing tendency, and the idea conveyed and intended to be conveyed thereby was and is as to the status, course of conduct, business, pursuit, or occupation of such persons who are denounced as vagrants, and proven by showing many specific acts which make up their general course of conduct, status, business, pursuit, or occupation, in contradistinction to their committing a specific act. The idea further is that such persons are denominated "vagrants" because their course of conduct, status, business, pursuit, or occupation is habitual in its nature. Anne: 14 ALR 1483. See vagrancy.
Ballentine's law dictionary. Anderson, W.S.. 1998.