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General Who coined the phrase "murder hobo"


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"Murder" being used as a adjective is pretty recent, though.
Eh, this is a trend which has been in process for a number of decades. It seems that English has been getting more 'fluid' in terms of the boundaries between types of words. Back when I was in grade school nobody would have even known what you were talking about if you said you wanted to "conference with them", there was a verb form of that 'confer', "I would like to confer with you." However, by the 80's school teachers were happily 'conferencing' with people left and right (and making many of us wince).
Things like using 'murder' as an adjective are no more foreign to me than that. I don't think that kind of usage ONLY started in the 21st Century. As with the above noted use of nouns/adjectives as verbs, it was already a trend in the 80's, probably earlier in some places. Maybe it is more common now, and maybe that weighs in your evaluation of the most likely first date for 'murder hobo', you'll have to use your own judgment there. It is hard to know how accurate a retro-projection of what seems odd or not really is, but I'm not feeling like 'murder hobo' has an exceptionally 'only in the last few years' ring to it. English has been getting 'bent' this way for a long time...
 

Eh, this is a trend which has been in process for a number of decades. It seems that English has been getting more 'fluid' in terms of the boundaries between types of words. Back when I was in grade school nobody would have even known what you were talking about if you said you wanted to "conference with them", there was a verb form of that 'confer', "I would like to confer with you." However, by the 80's school teachers were happily 'conferencing' with people left and right (and making many of us wince).
Things like using 'murder' as an adjective are no more foreign to me than that. I don't think that kind of usage ONLY started in the 21st Century. As with the above noted use of nouns/adjectives as verbs, it was already a trend in the 80's, probably earlier in some places. Maybe it is more common now, and maybe that weighs in your evaluation of the most likely first date for 'murder hobo', you'll have to use your own judgment there. It is hard to know how accurate a retro-projection of what seems odd or not really is, but I'm not feeling like 'murder hobo' has an exceptionally 'only in the last few years' ring to it. English has been getting 'bent' this way for a long time...

I don't think anyone is suggesting verbing began with the 21st century, but it certainly took off with it.

If you look at mid-late 1990s TV shows, stuff like Friends and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you basically suddenly see a whole bunch of verbing appearing, and that just keeps going, and by the 2000s it's completely become part of business jargon.

Re: murderhobo/murder hobo itself, it is perhaps of note that it didn't show up in Google searches as "murderhobo" until 2011, and "murder hobo" together, which obviously has broader search potentials is pretty rare (though is searched all the way back to the beginning of Google).

I could buy that it was first used on Usenet, but certainly it doesn't seem like it was popularized until a lot later. I can't remember where I first heard it myself, but it seems like a long time ago. Then again, 2011 seems like a long time ago now.
 

Adding to my earlier posts...

I found the statement "I like the idea of a crazy homicidal hobo bard." on a Gemstone IV forum from 2009:

There was a Runescape and League of Legends player named "A Homicidal Hobo" who was active on message boards from 2006-2013:

There are numerous internet references of the Joker being called a "homicidal hobo". These seem to start around 2008, which makes sense given that's the year The Dark Knight was released and Nolan/Ledger gave Joker gritty makeover.

The small time movie "Rail Kings" was added on Netflix sometime around 2005 with the description "After his rich parents are slain by a homicidal hobo known as Phantom 13..."

I'm sticking with my theory: "homicidal hobo" was the original phrase. "Murder hobo" is a memetic mutation that results from verbing "murder".
 

Mannahnin

Explorer
I think "murder hobo" also has an appealing rhythm. I remember being charmed by it when I first saw it, and thinking it was a fun new coinage.
I would definitely say I first encountered in the last 10 years or so. It wasn't any part of the common parlance when I was playing and reading Dragon, BBS forum and Prodigy posts in the 80s and early 90s, or on AOL or early web forums I participated in from the beginning of the WWW into the 2000s. The Giant in the Playground forum references going back to 2007 found in the wikicite article are vaguely ringing a bell. The last time I was regularly reading OOTS was a bit after that.
 

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