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

  • noun A pack animal, such as a horse or mule.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A pack-horse driver.
  • noun A pack-horse.
  • noun By extension, a porter; a man that carries burdens.
  • noun A pack; a burden.

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

  • adjective Carrying pack or burdens on the back
  • noun obsolete The driver of a pack horse.
  • noun obsolete A pack; a burden.
  • noun An animal, especially a horse, that carries packs or burdens; a baggage horse.

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

  • noun obsolete the driver of a packhorse
  • noun a packhorse, a beast of burden

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

  • noun an animal (such as a mule or burro or horse) used to carry loads


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

[Middle English, driver of a packhorse, from Old French sometier, from Vulgar Latin *saumatārius, from Late Latin sagma, sagmat-, packsaddle, from Greek, from sattein, to pack.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old French sometier, from late Latin sagma, from Greek σαγμα ‘pack-saddle’.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word sumpter.


  • Etymology: French, from Middle French soumelier official charged with transportation of supplies, from Old French, pack animal driver, probably alteration of * sommerier, from somier pack animal, from Medieval Latin saugmarius, from Late Latin sagma packsaddle — more at sumpter

    Sommelier on the Half Shell

  • No, somewhat less, for by all accounts the sumpter horses and certain cattle were to go with them as part of Otir's fee.

    His Disposition

  • It made some heavy loads for a number of sumpter horses which were likewise contributed as part of the ransom price.

    His Disposition

  • He found, at this place of rendezvous, the men and horses appointed to compose the retinue, leading two sumpter mules already loaded with baggage, and holding three palfreys for the two Countesses and a faithful waiting woman, with a stately war horse for himself, whose steel plated saddle glanced in the pale moonlight.

    Quentin Durward

  • Convent, the Kitchener and Refectioner, were just arrived with a sumpter-mule, loaded with provisions, announcing that the Lord Abbot, the

    The Monastery

  • Some necessary change of raiment, and a very few pieces of gold, were all which he thought it needful to withdraw from the general stock; the rest of the baggage and money he left with the sumpter-horse, which he concluded his father might need, in order to sustain his character as an English trader.

    Anne of Geierstein

  • Forth they rode then through the frank and up on to the shepherd country, and whereas their horses were of the best, and they had no sumpter-beast with them till they came to Upham, where they must needs have victual, they made but five days of it to the place where the road turned aside from the country of Mostwyke.

    The Water of the Wondrous Isles

  • Now they gather themselves together and go down toward Utterhay, and make a brave show, what with the sumpter-horses, and the goodly array of the four ladies, and the glittering war-gear of the men-at-arms; and Sir Hugh and Sir Arthur displayed their pennons as they went.

    The Water of the Wondrous Isles

  • Withal she bought them three good horses and another sumpter-horse; which last was loaded with sundry wares that she deemed that she needed, and with victual.

    The Water of the Wondrous Isles

  • One should have brought me hither seven sumpter loads of mead and mulled wine.

    The Nibelungenlied


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