(formerly) a person who followed an army or maintained a store on an army post to sell provisions to the soldiers.

1580–90; < early Dutch soeteler (now zoetelaar), equivalent to soetel(en) to do dirty work, work poorly (akin to soot) + -er -er1

sutlership, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sutler (ˈsʌtlə)
(formerly) a merchant who accompanied an army in order to sell provisions to the soldiers
[C16: from obsolete Dutch soeteler, from Middle Low German suteler, from Middle High German sudelen to do dirty work; related to soot, seethe]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"person who follows an army to sell food to soldiers," 1590, from M.Du. soeteler "small tradesman, sutler, camp cook" (Du. zoetelaar), cognate with M.L.G. suteler, sudeler "person who performs dirty tasks," M.H.G. sudelen "to cook badly," M.Du. soetelen "to cook badly." Probably related to Du. zieder,
Ger. sieden "to seethe" (see seethe).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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