[kol-pawr-ter, -pohr-; French kawl-pawr-tœr]

noun, plural col·por·teurs [kol-pawr-terz; French kawl-pawr-tœr] /ˈkɒlˌpɔr tərz; French kɔl pɔrˈtœr/.

a person who travels to sell or publicize Bibles, religious tracts, etc.
a peddler of books.

Origin of colporteur

1790–1800; < French, equivalent to colport(er) (see colportage) + -eur -eur Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for colporteur

huckster, salesperson, seller, costermonger, hawker, colporteur

Examples from the Web for colporteur

Historical Examples of colporteur

  • “I take but the proper price,” answered the colporteur, returning most of them to him.

  • On a shelf in a corner lay the Bible which the family had received from the colporteur.

  • It was found to correspond exactly with that of the colporteur!

  • But these are not my words,” said the colporteur, “they are the words of God.

  • When they had finished, the colporteur said: "It is good to pray, I believe!"

    On the Seaboard

    August Strindberg

British Dictionary definitions for colporteur



a hawker of books, esp bibles
Derived Formscolportage, noun

Word Origin for colporteur

C18: from French, from colporter, probably from Old French comporter to carry (see comport); influenced through folk etymology by porter à col to carry on one's neck
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