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or pedlar, pedler

[ped-ler] /ˈpɛd lər/
a person who sells from door to door or in the street.
a person who tries to promote some cause, candidate, viewpoint, etc.
Origin of peddler
1350-1400; Middle English pedlere, unexplained variant of peder, derivative of ped(de) basket Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for peddler
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • John Ball laid hand on the peddler's shoulder and turned him about to face the folk.

    Long Will Florence Converse
  • Pe ye a Yankee peddler, mit chewelry in your pack, to sheat the gals?

  • peddler can go to the Fair, said Nicholas; he 's no outlawed man.

    Long Will Florence Converse
  • What shall we do if he isn't to be seen and the peddler won't let us look inside?

    The Boy Scout Treasure Hunters Charles Henry Lerrigo
  • Noel looked up quickly as she spoke, and saw the peddler standing in the doorway of the kitchen.

    The Young Sharpshooter at Antietam Everett T. Tomlinson
  • The peddler picked up his pack, and the children their toys.

    The Dragon Painter Mary McNeil Fenollosa
  • The peddler took the hint, and closed the door immediately, using the precaution suggested by the dragoon.

    The Spy J. Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for peddler


a person who sells illegal drugs, esp narcotics
the usual US spelling of pedlar
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for peddler

late 14c. (c.1300 as a surname, Will. Le Pedelare), from peoddere, peddere (c.1200, mid-12c. as a surname), of unknown origin. It has the appearance of an agent noun, but no corresponding verb is attested in Middle English. Perhaps a diminutive of ped "panier, basket," also of unknown origin, but this is attested only from late 14c. Pedlar, preferred spelling in U.K., is attested from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for peddler



A narcotics seller; dealer (1929+ Narcotics)

Related Terms

ass peddler, flesh-peddler, pill-pusher

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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