• synonyms


or ped·ler

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
  1. peddler.


  1. a person who sells from door to door or in the street.
  2. a person who tries to promote some cause, candidate, viewpoint, etc.
Also especially British, ped·lar, ped·ler.

Origin of peddler

1350–1400; Middle English pedlere, unexplained variant of peder, derivative of ped(de) basket
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pedlar

Historical Examples

  • The whole company, especially she herself, started at this offer of the pedlar's.

    Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2

    Henry Fielding

  • As to the pedlar, she ordered him to be made as welcome as possible by her servants.

  • She ordered the pedlar to be called, who recounted his story as he had done before.

  • There was a pedlar's box beside him; I thought I knew the box.

  • So at Alexandria, every pedlar was the one honest follower of his craft.

British Dictionary definitions for pedlar


esp US peddler or pedler (ˈpɛdlə)

  1. a person who peddles; hawker

Word Origin

C14: changed from peder, from ped, pedde basket, of obscure origin


  1. a person who sells illegal drugs, esp narcotics
  2. 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

Word Origin and History for pedlar



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