[chap-muh n]

noun, plural chap·men.

British. a peddler.
Archaic. a merchant.

Origin of chapman

before 900; Middle English; Old English cēapman (cēap buying and selling + man man1); cognate with Dutch koopman, German Kaufmann; see cheap
Related formschap·man·ship, noun


[chap-muh n]


Frank Mich·ler [mik-ler] /ˈmɪk lər/, 1864–1945, U.S. ornithologist, museum curator, and author.
George,1559–1634, English poet, dramatist, and translator. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chapman

Contemporary Examples of chapman

Historical Examples of chapman

  • About three months after the death of Chapman, I was well enough to quit the hospital.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Peter, you have worked well for me, but you are no chapman; it is not in your blood.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • Off to the left, in front of Chapman, the lay of the land was more favorable.

  • I sent the letter on to Chapman for advice, and I have not yet received his reply.

  • “I am a gentleman, not a chapman,” (a retail tradesman) said Jack, superciliously.

    Clare Avery

    Emily Sarah Holt

British Dictionary definitions for chapman


noun plural -men

archaic a trader, esp an itinerant pedlar
Derived Formschapmanship, noun

Word Origin for chapman

Old English cēapman, from cēap buying and selling (see cheap)



George 1559–1634, English dramatist and poet, noted for his translation of Homer
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 chapman

"peddler, itinerant tradesman," Middle English form of Old English ceapman "tradesman," from West Germanic compound *kaupman- (cf. Old High German choufman, German Kauffman, Middle Dutch and Dutch koopman), formed with equivalents of man (n.) + West Germanic *kaup- (cf. Old Saxon cop, Old Frisian kap "trade, purchase," Middle Dutch coop, Dutch koop "trade, market, bargain," kauf "trader," Old English ceap "barter, business; a purchase"), from Proto-Germanic *kaupoz- (cf. Danish kjøb "purchase, bargain," Old Norse kaup "bargain, pay;" cf. also Old Church Slavonic kupiti "to buy," a Germanic loan-word), probably an early Germanic borrowing from Latin caupo (genitive cauponis) "petty tradesman, huckster," of unknown origin. Cf. also cheap (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper