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  1. a packhorse or mule.

Origin of sumpter

1275–1325; Middle English sompter < Old French sometier pack-horse driver < Vulgar Latin *saumatārius, equivalent to Latin sagmat- (stem of sagma; see summer2) + -ārius -ary
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sumpter

Historical Examples

  • "O, because she resembles a sister I lost," returned Sumpter after a brief hesitation.


    Effie Afton

  • If innocent, why did she not remain and boldly refute the tale Sumpter had told?


    Effie Afton

  • "He is in the office with Mr. Sumpter, I believe," was the reply.


    Effie Afton

  • On the preceding day, the post at Orangeburg had surrendered to Sumpter.

  • Sumpter was preceded by the legion, supported by the state cavalry.

British Dictionary definitions for sumpter


  1. archaic a packhorse, mule, or other beast of burden

Word Origin

C14: from Old French sometier driver of a baggage horse, from Vulgar Latin sagmatārius (unattested), from Late Latin sagma packsaddle
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 sumpter


early 14c., "driver of a pack horse," from Old French sommetier, from Vulgar Latin *sagmatarius "a pack horse driver," from Late Latin sagmat- "a pack, burden," stem of sagma "packsaddle," from Greek sagma, probably related to sattein "to pack, press, stuff." Used from mid-15c. of horses and mules for carrying loads.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper