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[kol-pawr-ter, -pohr-; French kawl-pawr-tœr] /ˈkɒlˌpɔr tər, -ˌpoʊr-; French kɔl pɔrˈtœr/
noun, plural colporteurs
[kol-pawr-terz; French kawl-pawr-tœr] /ˈkɒlˌpɔr tərz; French kɔl pɔrˈtœr/ (Show IPA)
a person who travels to sell or publicize Bibles, religious tracts, etc.
a peddler of books.
Origin of colporteur
1790-1800; < French, equivalent to colport(er) (see colportage) + -eur -eur Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for colporteur
Historical Examples
  • “I take but the proper price,” answered the colporteur, returning most of them to him.

    Count Ulrich of Lindburg W.H.G. Kingston
  • On a shelf in a corner lay the Bible which the family had received from the colporteur.

    In the Track of the Troops R.M. Ballantyne
  • But these are not my words,” said the colporteur, “they are the words of God.

    In the Track of the Troops R.M. Ballantyne
  • It was found to correspond exactly with that of the colporteur!

    In the Track of the Troops R.M. Ballantyne
  • When they had finished, the colporteur said: "It is good to pray, I believe!"

    On the Seaboard August Strindberg
  • In one instance the colporteur was taken for a doctor; in the other for a hunter.

  • There was not the same public to welcome the Gypsy as had hailed the colporteur.

    Lavengro George Borrow
  • Among the colporteur's arguments, however, was one that overcame him.

    The Lincoln Story Book Henry L. Williams
  • Joshua, was colporteur in Syria and in Asia Minor about 1860.

    Some Jewish Witnesses For Christ Rev. A. Bernstein, B.D.
  • Several months passed, and then one of the brethren, a colporteur, came.

    Riches of Grace E. E. Byrum
British Dictionary definitions for colporteur


/ˈkɒlˌpɔːtə; French kɔlpɔrtœr/
a hawker of books, esp bibles
Derived Forms
colportage, noun
Word Origin
C18: from French, from colporter, probably from Old French comporter to carry (see comport); influenced through folk etymology by porter à col to carry on one's neck
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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