from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

[Middle English pedlere, probably alteration of peddere, from Medieval Latin pedārius, crosier bearer, from Latin pēs, ped-, foot; see pedi–.]



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  • "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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

    February 17, 2013