The quotation below is from Peter Benchley’s Jaws:

“…; the homeowners complained that bums were littering the beaches or disturbing the peace;”

I would like to know the meaning of “bums” in this context. Among its many senses I have found in dictionary, I couldn’t know which one to choose as the most appropriate for this particular context.

  • Are you reading a paper copy of the novel? It looks like a typo. "Bums" would make more sense. Or can you supply more context? – relaxing Mar 21 '14 at 22:36

In this context "bums" refers to indigents or homeless persons. That would be meanings 1 and 2 from Collins:

bum (n.)

1) a disreputable loafer or idler
2) a tramp; hobo
3) an irresponsible, unpleasant, or mean person

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