Etymology
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drifter (n.)

1864, as a mining term for one who excavates "drifts" (in the specialized sense of "horizontal passages"); by 1883 as "boat fishing with drift-nets;" agent noun from drift (v.). Meaning "vagrant, man following an aimless way of life" is from 1908.

updated on October 09, 2018

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Definitions of drifter from WordNet

drifter (n.)
a wanderer who has no established residence or visible means of support;
Synonyms: vagrant / floater / vagabond / clochard
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.