Bunks in a flophouse, circa 1890.

Alternative formsEdit


From flop +‎ house, originally hobo slang, presumably from slang flop (lie down to sleep).[1]


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈflɒphaʊs/
  • (file)


flophouse (plural flophouses)

  1. (US, slang) A cheap hotel or boarding house where many people sleep in large rooms. [from 20th c.]
    • 1904, McClure’s Magazine, November 1904:[1]
      In one of [Cincinnati’s] slum districts stands the Silver Moon, a “flop house” (i.e., a house where the occupants are “flopped” out of their hanging bunks by letting down the ropes).
    • 1982, TC Boyle, Water Music, Penguin 2006, p. 34:
      He was born out back of a twopenny flophouse in what the wags called “The Holy Land” […].



Related termsEdit



flophouse (third-person singular simple present flophouses, present participle flophousing, simple past and past participle flophoused)

  1. To stay in a flophouse.
    • 1941, James F. Waters, The Court of Missing Heirs, page 53:
      August was aware of Robert's strange quirk of flophousing away from home and that he often spent weekends at the Diana.
    • 1960, Alan Kapelner, All the naked heroes: a novel, page 337:
      I kept going nowhere, bummed the country, boxcar'd it, breadlined it, flophoused it, that cruddy dying by inches in jungles when, Christ-o, outa the knocked-out black and blue I'm told I gotta go to war, gotta fight for freedom.
    • 1989, S. Prideaux, Fine Arts, page 202:
      For old time's sake we plan to flophouse with you over the parturient period.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Douglas Harper (2001–2021) , “flophouse”, in Online Etymology Dictionary