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[dee-ler] /ˈdi lər/
a person who buys and sells articles without altering their condition; trader or merchant, especially a wholesaler:
I got a dealer's discount on this coat.
Cards. the player distributing the cards.
a person who behaves or acts toward another or others in a specified manner:
a plain dealer.
Slang. a person who buys and sells drugs illegally.
a person who buys securities for his or her account and retains them until sold to another.
Compare stockbroker.
Origin of dealer
before 1000; Middle English delere, Old English dǣlere. See deal1, -er1
Related forms
predealer, noun
subdealer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dealer
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They went into the dining-room, and the dealer called for coffee at once.

    Rico and Wiseli Johanna Spyri
  • The dealer had lost patience and had sent for the picture; the van told the story.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
  • Then a dealer in turtles came by, and they told him their tale.

  • He was a dealer, who, for some few years, had been revolutionising the picture trade.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • It was kept by a dealer in cooked vegetables, and was just being opened.

British Dictionary definitions for dealer


a person or firm engaged in commercial purchase and sale; trader: a car dealer
(cards) the person who distributes the cards
(slang) a person who sells illegal drugs
Derived Forms
dealership, noun
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 dealer

Old English dælere "divider, distributor; agent, negotiator," agent noun from deal (v.). Meaning "player who passes out the cards in a game" is from c.1600; meaning "one who deals in merchandise" is from 1610s. Illegal drug sense is recorded by 1920.

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



  1. A person who makes a living from gambling, whether or not an actual dealer-out of cards •Dealer, ''player who distributes the cards,'' is attested from 1600: A bookmaker, who is known as a dealer in refined usage (1950s+ Gambling)
  2. A person involved actively and aggressively in a range of negotiations, trades, purchases, etc; wheeler-dealer (1950s+)
  3. A person who sells narcotics; peddler; connection, pusher: The ''dealer'' (not ''pusher'') is the man who sells all this (1920s+ Narcotics)

Related Terms

juice dealer

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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