Bindle (from German "das Bündel" = "bundle, bale") is a term used to describe the bag, sack, or carrying device stereotypically used by the (commonly American) sub-culture of hobos. The person carrying a bindle was called a , combining "bindle" with the Average Joe sense of (from German "Steif" = "stiff, rigid"). In popular culture the bindle is portrayed as being a stick with cloth or a blanket tied around one end for the carrying of items, with the entire array being carried over the shoulder. Particularly in cartoons, the bindles' sacks usually have a polka-dotted or bandanna design. However, in actual use the bindle can take many forms, such as a backpack or carrier bag attached to a stick, meaning that bindle is specifically a term to identify bags or carrying devices used by travellers.

An example of the stick-type bindle can be seen in the illustration entitled "The Runaway" created by Norman Rockwell which appears on the cover of the September 20, 1958 edition of The Saturday Evening Post. []

Though bindles are rarely seen anymore bindles are still widely seen in popular culture as a prevalent anachronism.

Drug culture

The word bindle is also a street term that can be used to describe a small paper packet of drugs that varies in weight under one gram.


Bindle is also a term used in forensics. It is the name for a piece of paper folded to hold trace evidence - not to be confused with a pharmaceutical fold.

Other cultures

In Australian history, a similar item is entitled a swag or swag bag, something usually carried by transients or traveling workmen.


* Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • bindle — tramp s bundle, c.1900, perhaps from BUNDLE (Cf. bundle) or Scottish dialectal bindle cord or rope to bind things. Related: Bindlestiff …   Etymology dictionary

  • bindle — ☆ bindle [bin′dəl ] n. [prob. < Ger bündel, bundle] Slang a bundle, as of bedding, carried by a hobo …   English World dictionary

  • bindle — 1. n. a packet or bundle; a hobo’s pack. □ The guy had a bindle tied to a tick, just like an old time tramp. □ Throw your bindle over yonder, and plunk your butt on that empty crate. 2. n. a packet of drugs. (Drugs.) D She had a bindle of H. in… …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • bindle — noun /ˈbɪndl/ a) <ref name= OED1 /> Any given length of cord, rope, twine, etc, used to bind something.<ref name= OED1 /> lastly he made a bindle in a plastic tarp of some cans of juice and cans of fruit and cans of vegetables… b) A …   Wiktionary

  • bindle — noun Etymology: perhaps alteration of bundle Date: 1897 a bundle of clothes or bedding …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • bindle — /bin dl/, n. Slang. a bundle, usually of bedding and other possessions, carried by a hobo. [1895 1900; prob. akin to BUNDLE; uncert. if < dial. source or < G Bündel] * * * …   Universalium

  • bindle — n. (Slang) bundle; tiny pack of drug powder; heroin …   English contemporary dictionary

  • bindle — bin·dle …   English syllables

  • bindle — ˈbindəl noun ( s) Etymology: probably alter of bundle 1. slang a. : a bundle usually containing clothing and cooking utensils b …   Useful english dictionary

  • bindle stiff — noun hobos, misfits, criminals, wanderers or drifting harvest workers; so called because they carry a bindle Quotation: used in Of Mice and Men …   Wiktionary

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