Green’s Dictionary of Slang

knockabout n.

also knock-around
[knock around v.]

1. a drinking spree.

[US]J.C. Neal Charcoal Sketches (1865) 175: The protegé, who longed to indulge himself in that which he classically termed a ‘knock-around,’ took his allies Diggs, Swiggs, and Twiggs with him.

2. (Aus.) a tramp, a vagrant.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 May 13/3: He went through hard times in Queensland and N.S.W. as the typical knockabout. He tramped for work, and was glad of a job at tailing cattle or felling trees.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 11 Feb. 1/1: A knockabout nearly suffered transportation to eternity t’otherday.
[Aus]Western Mail (Perth) 12 Oct. 10/4: In blankets the blue and grey colours were most favoured by knockabouts, which explains ‘bluey’.
[Aus]K. Willey Boss Drover 46: The late Jimmy McAdam who was an old-time mailman, stationhand and general knockabout.
[US]T. Wolfe Bonfire of the Vanities 40: Forty thousand incompetents, dimwits, alcoholics, psychopaths, knockabouts.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper From The Inside 48: A young criminal and knockabout not much older than myself.
[Ire](con. 1930s) K.C. Kearns Dublin Tenement Life 166: Knockabouts would come into the halls and sleep on the stairs and all the tenants would bring them out a cup of tea in the morning.
R. Bonner in N.Y. Rev. of Books 17 Apr. 52/4: Hicks was an Australian knockabout who was picked up in Afghanistan.

3. (Aus.) a layabout, a low criminal or idler.

[UK]Sporting Times 4 Jan. 6: Right behind him, a pair of knockabouts were pounding each other to a jelly.
[Aus]K. Tennant Foveaux 312: If Neicie’s husband had been a ‘knockabout’, Cury could have dealt with him according to the unwritten rules of his own circle.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 Apr. 44: A knock-about (or knockaround) is what the British might call a lay-about.
[Ire](con. 1930s) K.C. Kearns Dublin Street Life and Lore 85: Hoggers was men looking for a free drink [...] They were knockabouts.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 4 8: A well-known knockabout would-be [...] gangster.

4. (W.I.) the lowest type of prostitute.

[WI]Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.

5. a social ‘jack-of all trades’, a ‘regular chap’.

[Ire]Joyce ‘Ivy Day in the Committee Room’ Dubliners (1956) 129: I admire the man personally. He’s just an ordinary knockabout like you or me. He’s fond of his glass of grog and he’s a bit of a rake, perhaps, and he’s a good sportsman.
[US]Wood & Goddard Dict. Amer. Sl. 28: knockabout. Fit for rough wear, as a knockabout suit. A slapstick comedian. A roustabout, man of all work.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 10: The knockabout from the West had his curiosity aroused.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read How to Shoot Friends 44: He was also just a bloody good bloke, an honest knockabout who could deal with anyone from pickpockets to prime ministers.

6. see knockabout man n. (1)