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[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.
Also, especially British, pedlar, pedler.
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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for peddler
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But it was the face that startled the peddler—the face of Paul Ritson.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • Pe ye a Yankee peddler, mit chewelry in your pack, to sheat the gals?

  • "Thank you kindly, ma'am, but I must be far on my road to-night," said the peddler.

    Hidden Hand

    Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Southworth
  • So you're the boys that got the car away from the peddler, are ye?

    The Boy Scout Treasure Hunters Charles Henry Lerrigo
  • 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
  • The peddler picked up his pack, and the children their toys.

    The Dragon Painter

    Mary McNeil Fenollosa
  • A peddler of heads too—perhaps the heads of his own brothers.

    Moby Dick; or The Whale Herman Melville
  • The first glimpse of the peddler's horse sent dismay to the rest of us.

    When Life Was Young C. A. Stephens
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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