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  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


or ped·ler

  1. peddler.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pedler

Historical Examples

  • The pedler, it must be acknowledged, had a thoroughly countrified appearance.

    Paul Prescott's Charge

    Horatio Alger

  • "I don't believe you could," said the pedler, shaking his head in comic indignation.

  • It must not be supposed that the pedler neglected his business on account of his companion.

  • He had not yet apparently noticed the pedler's cart, so that this was in our hero's favor.

  • "Yes, Boney's got a keen scent for provisions," laughed the pedler.

British Dictionary definitions for pedler


  1. a person who sells illegal drugs, esp narcotics
  2. the usual US spelling of 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
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 pedler



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