Homeless in different languages

Homeless in Different Languages

Discover 'Homeless' in 134 Languages: Dive into Translations, Hear Pronunciations, and Uncover Cultural Insights.

Updated on March 6, 2024

The word 'homeless' carries a profound significance, referring to individuals lacking a fixed, stable residence. It's a global issue, with different cultures and languages offering unique perspectives on this phenomenon. Understanding the translation of 'homeless' in various languages not only broadens our linguistic abilities but also deepens our cultural empathy.

Historically, societies have grappled with homelessness in different ways. Ancient civilizations like Rome had 'insulae,' apartment buildings where the poor often lived in cramped, unsanitary conditions. Today, homelessness is a pressing concern in urban centers worldwide, sparking debates on housing, social welfare, and human rights.

For language enthusiasts, exploring the word 'homeless' in multiple tongues is a fascinating journey. For instance, in Spanish, it's 'sin techo' or 'sin hogar,' while in French, it's 'sans-abri.' In Mandarin, it's '无家可归,' and in Japanese, '家eless' or 'ホームlessness.'


Homeless in Sub-Saharan African Languages

'Haweloos', Afrikaans for 'homeless', stems from 'have loos' or 'without shelter'.
Amharicቤት አልባ
In Amharic, the word "ቤት አልባ" (bēt albā) can also mean "without a house" or "without a home."
Hausamarasa gida
The Hausa word 'marasa gida' literally means 'one who does not have a house'.
Igboenweghị ebe obibi
"Enweghị ebe obibi" means "without a place to live" but can also be translated as "vagabond," "hobo," or even "tramp".
Malagasytsy manan-kialofana
The Malagasy word "tsy manan-kialofana" can also mean "without a roof over one's head" or "without a place to live".
Nyanja (Chichewa)opanda pokhala
''Opanda pokhala'', commonly translated as ''homeless'', is literally ''without fireplace(s)'' in Chichewa.
Shonavasina pokugara
In Shona, 'vasina pokugara' refers to people who do not have a permanent home and often live on the streets or in temporary shelters.
Somaliguri la’aan
The word "guri la’aan" can be literally translated as 'a place without shade,' highlighting the vulnerability of those who lack shelter.
Sesothoho hloka lehae
The term "ho hloka lehae" can also be figuratively applied to individuals who are dispossessed or destitute, lacking a sense of belonging or security.
Swahiliwasio na makazi
The Swahili word "wasio na makazi" ("homeless") literally means "those without a home."
The Xhosa word “abangenamakhaya” derives from the Zulu word “abangenamakhaya,” which means "non-house people".
Yorubaaini ile
"Aini ile" can be used to refer to someone who is in a temporary shelter or who cannot provide a permanent address
"Abangenamakhaya" is a Zulu word that literally translates to "those who are waiting for a home".
Bambaraso tɛ mɔgɔ minnu bolo
Kinyarwandaabadafite aho baba
Lingalabazangi ndako
Lugandaabatalina mwasirizi
Sepediba hloka magae
Twi (Akan)a wonni afie

Homeless in North African & Middle Eastern Languages

Arabicبلا مأوى
The word "بلا مأوى" literally means "without a haven" in Arabic.
Hebrewחֲסַר בַּיִת
The Hebrew word "חֲסַר בַּיִת" can also refer to someone who lacks a spiritual home or a sense of belonging.
Pashtoبې کوره
Literal translation of "بې کوره" into English is "without home" while its more metaphorical meaning in Pashto is "unhappy, distraught," and "frustrated."
Arabicبلا مأوى
The word "بلا مأوى" literally means "without a haven" in Arabic.

Homeless in Western European Languages

Albaniani pastrehë
The word "i pastrehë" in Albanian is derived from the Latin word "pastor", meaning "shepherd". Pastrehë is used to describe poor shephards who are away from their homes for months while pasturing the sheep.
Basqueetxerik gabe
"Etxerik gabe" means "without a house" in Basque.
Catalansense sostre
This word is a compound of the noun "sens" (meaning "without") and the noun "sostre" (meaning "roof"), so it originally meant "roofless".
"Beskućnik" derives from Turkish "bes" ("five") which refers to the Ottoman tax of "five-akçe" collected per non-Muslim family without a home.
The word "hjemløs" literally means "without a home" in Danish.
The word "dakloos" in Dutch is derived from "dak" (roof) and "loos" (deprived), implying a lack of shelter overhead.
The word 'homeless' originates from the Old English word 'hamleas', meaning 'without a home or village'.
Frenchsans abri
The word "sans abri" is derived from the Latin phrase "sine arbore" meaning "without a tree".
The word "dakleas" derives from the Proto-Indo-European root *dʰek- meaning "to take, to give" and originally meant "beggar".
Galiciansen fogar
"Sen fogar" in Galician literally translates to "without fire," suggesting the loss of warmth and comfort associated with a home.
The word derives from Middle High German obdach, meaning 'roof' and los, 'loose' or 'detached'.
Heimilislaus is a compound word in Icelandic that directly translates as "without a home". Beyond its primary usage, heimilislaus can also be used in a more metaphorical sense, indicating a lack of comfort, security, or familiarity.
Irishgan dídean
The word 'gan dídean' literally means 'without shelter' or 'without protection'.
The word "senzatetto" could also mean someone who left their home and family to live a life of renunciation and piety.
The Luxembourgish word "Obdachlos" is derived from the German word "Obdachlosigkeit", which means "homelessness".
Maltesebla dar
The Maltese word 'bla dar' comes from Arabic 'bēit dār' (House of Residence) and is also found in Sicilian, Spanish and Catalan
The word 'hjemløs' literally means 'homeless' in Norwegian, but it can also refer to someone who is displaced or has lost their home.
Portuguese (Portugal, Brazil)sem teto
In Portuguese, "sem teto" is a literal translation of "without roof", but it also has the extended meaning of "homeless".
Scots Gaelicgun dachaigh
The Gaelic word “gun dachaigh” (“homeless”) is also used to describe people who have been forced to flee their homes, such as refugees or asylum seekers.
The word "vagabundo" originally referred to a "wandering worker" and can also mean "tramp" or "vagrant".
The word "hemlös" originates from the Old Norse word "heimlaus", meaning "without a home".
The word "digartref" is derived from the Welsh words "dig" (lack) and "artref" (home), and can also mean "refugee" or "exile".

Homeless in Eastern European Languages

The word "бяздомныя" (homeless) in Belarusian comes from the Old Slavic word "бездомъ" (without a home).
The word "beskućnici" also means "people without a home" in Bosnian.
The word "бездомник" also means "a wanderer, a vagrant" in Bulgarian.
Czechbez domova
The Czech word "bez domova" has a broader meaning than "homeless", also encompassing people without a permanent residence or address
Kodutud means 'house-roof-less' and is related to the word katus ('roof'), so the word originally meant 'without a roof', but later became less specific, just meaning 'house-less'.
The Finnish word 'kodittomia' ('homeless') can also be used to refer to 'animals without a home'.
The word 'hajléktalan' originally meant 'without refuge', and only came to mean 'homeless' in the late 1700s.
The word "bezpajumtnieki" is derived from the Latvian word "pajumte", meaning "shelter". Originally, it referred to people who did not have shelter, but it now also includes those who live in temporary accommodation or on the streets.
In Lithuanian, the word "benamiai" can also refer to a "landless person".
The term "бездомници" in Macedonian can refer to both people without a home and to animals without an owner.
"Bezdomny" can also mean "childless" in Polish.
Romanianfără adăpost
The Romanian word "fără adăpost" can also mean "shelterless" or "without a roof over one's head".
The word "бездомный" is derived from the Old Russian word "безьдомье", which means "lack of home or shelter". It is also related to the word "дом", meaning "home". Historically, the term was mainly used to describe beggars and vagrants, but nowadays its meaning has expanded and it can also refer to people who live in temporary or inadequate housing.
The word "бескућници" in Serbian is derived from the word "кућа" (house) and the prefix "без" (without), meaning "without a house".
The word 'bezdomovec' in Slovak literally translates as 'without a home'
The term 'brezdomci' is the plural of the Slovenian word 'brezdomc', which literally translates to 'without a home' or 'without a house'.
The word

Homeless in South Asian Languages

গৃহহীন (meaning homeless) can also mean "one who does not have a wife" but it is now obsolete.
The Gujarati word 'બેઘર' ('beghar') comes from the Sanskrit word 'विघर' ('vighar'), meaning 'to wander' or 'to be without a home,' reflecting the nomadic lifestyle of some communities.
The word 'बेघर' literally means 'without a house', and can also refer to someone who has lost their home due to circumstances beyond their control.
The word "ಮನೆಯಿಲ್ಲದವರು" can also refer to people who live in temporary or transitional housing.
The word 'homeless' in Malayalam, 'ഭവനരഹിതർ' (bhavanarahithar), literally means 'devoid of a dwelling place'.
The word "बेघर" can also mean "unhoused" or "without a home".
The word 'बेघर' in Nepali, often translated as 'homeless', also carries the meanings of 'lost' and 'dispersed' from its Sanskrit origins.
ਬੇਘਰ, or 'beghar', also means 'vagrant' or 'wanderer' in Punjabi.
Sinhala (Sinhalese)නිවාස නැති
The word "வீடற்றவர்கள்" primarily refers to people who lack a permanent abode, but it can also be used figuratively to describe those who are excluded or marginalized from society.
The word "నిరాశ్రయుల" (homeless) is derived from the Sanskrit words "निरा" (without) and "आश्रय" (shelter), meaning "without shelter or protection".
Urduبے گھر
The word 'بے گھر' is derived from Persian and literally means 'without home'.

Homeless in East Asian Languages

Chinese (Simplified)无家可归
The Chinese word for "homeless" is literally "without a home to return to."
Chinese (Traditional)無家可歸
無家可歸 literally means "without a home to return to" suggesting the displacement of people from their homes.
The loanword "ホームレス" came to Japanese via English from Latin and has its roots in the phrase "sine domo".
The word "노숙자" (homeless) literally means "one who spends the night on the street" in Korean.
Mongolianорон гэргүй
The word "орон гэргүй" can also refer to someone who is uprooted or displaced from their homeland, or to a person who is socially isolated or marginalized.
Myanmar (Burmese)အိုးမဲ့အိမ်မဲ့

Homeless in South East Asian Languages

Indonesiantuna wisma
"Tuna wisma" is derived from the Sanskrit words "tuna" (lacking) and "wisma" (home), meaning "lacking a home."
In Javanese, the word "wisma" not only means "homeless," but also refers to a guest house or a place of lodging.
Malaytiada tempat tinggal
Tiada tempat tinggal literally means 'no place of residence' in Malay, but is most commonly used to refer to individuals without a permanent home.
The word 'homeless' (ไม่มีที่อยู่อาศัย) in Thai can also refer to people who live in temporary shelters or on the streets.
Vietnamesevô gia cư
In Vietnamese, vô gia cư literally means 'without residence'.
Filipino (Tagalog)walang tirahan

Homeless in Central Asian Languages

In Azerbaijani, the word “evsiz” literally means “without home,” but it can also be used metaphorically to describe someone who is lonely or without support.
The word "үйсіз" can also mean "poor" or "needy" in Kazakh.
The word "үй-жайсыз" in Kyrgyz has two alternate meanings: "uninhabited" and "lonely."
The word "бехонумон" ultimately derives from the Persian "bē-χān" (without-home), and can also refer to a "refuge" or "sanctuary".
The Uzbek word "uysiz" is thought to be derived from the Persian word "bi-khāne" meaning "without home".

Homeless in Pacific Languages

Hawaiianhome ʻole
In Hawaiian, the word "home ʻole" literally means "without a home" but can also carry deeper cultural significance, reflecting ancestral displacement and loss of identity.
Maorikainga kore
Kainga kore literally means "without home", and refers to the social condition of homelessness, not to the state of a house.
Samoanleai ni fale
"Leai ni fale" literally means "without a house" in Samoan.
Tagalog (Filipino)walang tirahan
Walang tirahan literally translates to "without (a) dwelling place," hence its association to homelessness.

Homeless in American Indigenous Languages

Aymarajan utani
Guaranindorekóiva hóga

Homeless in International Languages

The Esperanto word "senhejmuloj" is a compound word made up of the prefix "sen-" (without) and the word "hejmo" (home).
The noun "profugo" can also mean "exile" and the verb "profugere" can mean "flee" or "run away".

Homeless in Others Languages

The word "άστεγος" literally translates to "without a roof" or "lacking a home" and is used in both a literal and figurative sense.
Hmongtsis muaj tsev nyob
"Tsis muaj tsev nyob" is often translated as "homeless" but can also mean "without a house".
The Kurdish word "bêmal" can also mean "without property" or "poor" in a broader sense.
"Evsiz" is a word in Turkish derived from "ev," which means "house" and "siz," which means "lacking" or "without." Therefore, the word "evsiz" literally means someone without a home.
The Xhosa word “abangenamakhaya” derives from the Zulu word “abangenamakhaya,” which means "non-house people".
The Yiddish word "היימלאָז" (heymlоyz) likely derives from the German word "heimlos," meaning "homeless" or "without a home."
"Abangenamakhaya" is a Zulu word that literally translates to "those who are waiting for a home".
Aymarajan utani
Bhojpuriबेघर लोग के बा
Dhivehiގެދޮރު ނެތް މީހުންނެވެ
Filipino (Tagalog)walang tirahan
Guaranindorekóiva hóga
Ilocanoawan pagtaenganna
Kriowe nɔ gɛt os
Kurdish (Sorani)بێماڵ
Meiteilon (Manipuri)ꯌꯨꯝ ꯂꯩꯇꯕꯥ꯫
Mizochenna nei lo
Oromomana hin qabne
Odia (Oriya)ଭୂମିହୀନ |
Quechuamana wasiyuq
Tigrinyaገዛ ዘይብሎም
Tsongalava pfumalaka makaya

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