va·​gran·​cy | \ ˈvā-grən(t)-sē How to pronounce vagrancy (audio) \
plural vagrancies

Definition of vagrancy

1 : the state or action of being vagrant
2 : the offense of being a vagrant
3 : vagary

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Examples of vagrancy in a Sentence

a frequent victim to the vagrancies of the heart, she had a succession of passionate but short-lived romances
Recent Examples on the Web During what seems to have been an especially well-lubricated 1953 Memorial Day weekend, Anchorage police arrested 53 for drunkenness and vagrancy, requiring a special court session to separate those who could be sentenced to the farm. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "There’s a golf course there now, but Anchorage prisoners used to farm at Russian Jack Springs Park," 12 Apr. 2020 And like most vagrancy laws more broadly, anti-loitering laws were race-neutral on paper. Bonnie Kristian, TheWeek, "Ahmaud Arbery and the racist history of loitering laws," 7 May 2020 The problem is really a mixture of poverty, mental illness, substance abuse, criminality, vagrancy and a certain percentage that could honestly do other things, but they, for various reasons, choose to live that way. Anchorage Daily News, "14 questions: Anchorage Assembly candidate Christine Hill," 28 Mar. 2020 He was eventually convicted of misdemeanor vagrancy and was sentenced to 60 days in jail. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "Bayard Rustin, a gay civil rights leader arrested for having sex with men, is pardoned 67 years later," 5 Feb. 2020 Never mind that vagrancy laws were a feature of many jurisdictions in the United States both at the time of the founding and afterward, and no court entertained the suggestion that the Eighth Amendment had anything to say about them at all. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 9 Jan. 2020 While that rarity is due in part to the vagrancy of genetics, the widespread decline of the once-common frog species is also to blame. Eli Francovich, The Seattle Times, "Rare blue-spotted northern leopard frog found in Eastern Washington," 30 Sep. 2019 Hundreds more were lynched based on accusations of robbery, arson, simple assault and vagrancy, the report states; the crimes would not typically have resulted in a death sentence. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "'Lynching' isn't a euphemism for unwanted criticism. It's a real act of violence," 23 Oct. 2019 Public Works crews removed the 300-pound rocks from Clinton Park Monday, boulders apparently set down by people seeking to deter vagrancy, homelessness and open-air drug dealing there. Dominic Fracassa,, "How to get city’s help with homelessness, drug dealing (but please, no rocks)," 30 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vagrancy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of vagrancy

1641, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for vagrancy

vagr(ant) entry 1 or vagr(ant) entry 2 + -ancy

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Time Traveler for vagrancy

Time Traveler

The first known use of vagrancy was in 1641

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Statistics for vagrancy

Cite this Entry

“Vagrancy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for vagrancy


va·​gran·​cy | \ ˈvā-grən-sē How to pronounce vagrancy (audio) \
plural vagrancies

Legal Definition of vagrancy

1 : the act or practice of wandering about from place to place
2 : the crime of wandering about without employment or identifiable means of support the court struck down the vagrancy law as unconstitutionally vague

Note: Most vagrancy laws have been abolished.

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