AskDefine | Define bellhop

Dictionary Definition

bellhop n : someone employed as an errand boy and luggage carrier around hotels [syn: bellboy, bellman]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. An employee of a hotel who carries guest's luggage and runs errands

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

A bellhop, also bellboy (pronunciation) or bellman, is a hotel porter, who helps patrons with their luggage while checking in or out. They often wear a uniform (see Bell-boy hat), like certain other page boys or doormen.
The job's name is derived from the fact that the hotel's front desk would ring a bell to summon an available employee, who would "hop" (jump) to attention at the desk in order to receive instructions. Historically, this employee traditionally was a boy or adolescent male who may have been otherwise unskilled but able to carry luggage; hence the term bellboy. Today's bellman must be quick witted, a good conversationalist, charismatic, outgoing, and understand the basics of human psychology to better customize each guest's experience. Duties that are often included in this job are opening the front door, moving luggage, valeting cars, calling cabs, transporting guests, giving directions, basic concierge work, and responding to any of the guest needs. In many countries such as the United States, it customary to tip such an employee for their service.
This position can also be held by a woman today, with the progression of equality in the workplace. The term "bellhop" is much less gender specific than "bellman" or "bellboy".

Famous bellhops

  • Ted Serios was a Chicago bellhop, who gained notoriety in the 1960s by producing "thoughtographs" on Polaroid film, which he claimed were produced using psychic powers.

Popular references

The bellhop character is very common in popular culture, having been referenced in a number of occasions, such as the following:
  • The 1929 Marx Brothers musical/comedy film, The Cocoanuts, featured an early, if unwitting, foreshadowing of gender equality in the job. The dialogue portion of the musical play featured a number of bellhops, all of them male. In fact, one of the opening songs was called The Bellhops. There were also a couple of chorus-line dance numbers featuring bellhops, all of them female. In case the viewing audience missed that subtlety, Groucho commented about it on-screen.
  • The bellhop task of paging guests was referenced in a famous and long-running series of radio and print advertisements for the Philip Morris tobacco company. The ads featured a young man with a strong tenor voice announcing, "CALL... FOR... PHILIP MORR-E-IS!"
  • In the video game Hotel Mario a species of Goomba appeared as an enemy character who was dressed as a bellhop.
  • In the 1942 cartoon short Bellboy Donald, Donald Duck is a bellhop. This short is notorious as it marks the first appearance of character Pete Junior, with whom Donald has to deal despite the kid's attempts to enrage him.
bellhop in German: Hoteldiener
bellhop in Spanish: Fajín
bellhop in Swedish: Piccolo

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Ganymede, Hebe, airline hostess, airline stewardess, attendant, batman, bellboy, bellman, bootblack, boots, cabin boy, caddie, callboy, caller, chore boy, copyboy, cupbearer, errand boy, errand girl, footboy, gofer, hostess, office boy, office girl, orderly, page, squire, steward, stewardess, tender, trainbearer, usher, yeoman
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