Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One who travels about selling wares for a living.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An itinerant seller of small goods; a hawker.
  • n. A dealer in illegal drugs.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who peddles; a traveling trader; one who travels about, retailing small wares; a hawker.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who travels about selling small wares, which he carries with him; a traveling chapman; a hawker.
  • n. In entomology, the larva of any one of the tortoise-beetles.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who travels about selling his wares (as on the streets or at carnivals)
  • n. an unlicensed dealer in illegal drugs

Etymologies

Middle English pedlere, probably alteration of peddere, from Medieval Latin pedārius, crosier bearer, from Latin pēs, ped-, foot; see pedi-.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • "Motkeh, the fish-peddler, is looking for a wife to cook him his eating and take care on his children," she was saying in her shrill, grating voice.

    Hungry Hearts

  • By the way Lance, I applaud your use of alliteration and assonance; "Teutonic turd peddler" is so much more poetic than "German shit merchant."

    10,000 BC IS A CRITICAL DARLING

  • In that, I propose an extension to the definition of "peddler."

    Adam Foldes: 'Spinster'? What About 'Peddler'? A Gender Inequality in Terms of Commitment

  • Poplawski was also convinced that paper money would become worthless -- another claim given credence by the Fox News Channel host, particularly in close connection with his frequent shilling for the now-under-investigation gold-coin peddler Goldline International.

    Will Bunch: "Pop" Poplawski, the High-Def Hucksters, and the Downward Spiral of Violence

  • Prudence dictated to the pair a speedy retreat; and the next morning, the only remains of the dwelling of the peddler was the huge chimney we have already mentioned.

    The Spy

  • In person, the peddler was a man above the middle height, spare, but full of bone and muscle.

    The Spy

  • We will not sit wait for it, we will not let them stay first then unify again in the game seal them, I so long as under a discovery gold coin peddler will seal them.

    Startups | Home

  • This weekend, we announced a new attack gold coin peddler's measure.

    Startups | Home

  • Several servants had noticed the gypsy woman "peddler," as they called her, for she had made a number of calls on the block, trying to sell her lace, but no one had seen Snap with her.

    The Bobbsey Twins on Blueberry Island

  • It was not the face of a peddler, the ordinary kind of peddler, certainly -- and the mild brown eyes, eyes a trifle nearsighted, behind the round, gold-rimmed spectacles, were not those of a sharp trader seeking a victim.

    Galusha the Magnificent

Comments

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  • The discussion thread below brings the terms despecificate and adsignification to mind.

    February 17, 2013

  • I remember something from one of those brown-eye/blue-eye documentaries where one of the people in power was saying he didn't want to let the other group have power because "then they'll do the same thing to us." I don't think coming up with a new way to new group helps anyone. Not that the brown-eye/blue-eye thing wasn't without flaws, of course.

    February 17, 2013

  • Leave peddler alone. I hate word engineers. Double hate those who background their laughablisms with ridiculous generalisations overladled with a dollop of sheer nastiness.

    February 15, 2013

  • Well, there's 'confirmed bachelors', but that is now slang for a gay man, and when a man was awarded 170,000 dollars after separating from a woman 20 years his senior, he was labelled 'con man'.
    I'd prefer it if 'Clooney' was adopted as a word to describe a single older bachelor.

    February 15, 2013

  • "We have enough names and descriptions for women's behavior or relationship status. However, a great disparity exists in the available characterizations for men. Now that all people are slowly being allowed to marry, regardless of sexuality, the timing seems important to introduce an equal playing field -- a counterpart -- for the linguistic application of "spinster" to women. For men, "bachelor" is far too celebratory in its connotation. Therefore, we should begin to embrace, employ, and apply a word more suitable for men, one that is less forgiving than "bachelor" and at least balances "spinster": so what is dished out to the Goose can be dished out to the Gander.

    In that, I propose an extension to the definition of "peddler." "Peddler" originates in an era and period of history close to that of "spinster" and similarly evokes a lonely, isolated profession ever less common in contemporary times. It also captures a stereotypical male tendency toward clandestine mobility in their commitments. It can also deliver the same sort of twisted and cloaked jab as does "spinster," both words benign until applied within a cultural context. The male populace can surely benefit from learning what it feels like to have other people use this type of term to describe or scrutinize their relationship status; one that may or may not be what it appears, or why it appears, to be so."
    ~Adam Foldes, 'Spinster'? What About Peddler;? A Gender Inequality in Terms of Commitment, Huffington Post, December 11, 2011. link

    February 15, 2013