I have just come across the following sentence on The Sun:

A neighbour said: “I heard a whomp so I went to look out the window. At first I thought it was a tramp asleep. He had all his clothes on and everything.”

I checked all the possible dictionary entries for these two words, yet I cannot make head or tail of it. Could someone please explain to me what it means here?

Here is a link to the source article.

  • 3
    "A tramp asleep" is a short of "a tramp fallen asleep." – Jan Jul 2 '19 at 11:05

A Tramp is a person with no home, job, or money who travels around and asks for money from other people. Synonymous to a homeless person but tends to be a slightly more derogatory word Ref.

Asleep is the you are not awake. I.e. He is sleeping - the resting state in which the body is not active and the mind is unconscious. Ref.

In the the article, the neighbour thought that a homeless person was sleeping outside the window, it was later when she realised that it was the boy.


The word tramp here is a noun, and means:

tramp (n.) one who travels aimlessly about on foot, doing odd jobs or begging for a living; an idle vagrant or homeless vagabond. (Wordnik)

So, "At first I thought it was a tramp asleep," means, "At first I thought it was a sleeping homeless person."

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