[ huhk-ster ]
/ ˈhʌk stər /


a retailer of small articles, especially a peddler of fruits and vegetables; hawker.
a person who employs showy methods to effect a sale, win votes, etc.: the crass methods of political hucksters.
a cheaply mercenary person.
  1. a persuasive and aggressive salesperson.
  2. a person who works in the advertising industry, especially one who prepares aggressive advertising for radio and television.

verb (used with or without object)

to deal, as in small articles, or to make petty bargains: to huckster fresh corn; to huckster for a living.
to sell or promote in an aggressive and flashy manner.

Origin of huckster

1150–1200; Middle English huccstere (perhaps cognate with Middle Dutch hokester), equivalent to hucc- haggle (cognate with dialectal German hucken to huckster) + -stere -ster
Related formshuck·ster·ism, nounhuck·ster·ish, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for hucksterism


/ (ˈhʌkstə) /


a person who uses aggressive or questionable methods of selling
rare a person who sells small articles or fruit in the street
US a person who writes for radio or television advertisements


(tr) to peddle
(tr) to sell or advertise aggressively or questionably
to haggle (over)
Derived Formshucksterism, noun

Word Origin for huckster

C12: perhaps from Middle Dutch hoekster, from hoeken to carry on the back
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 hucksterism



c.1200, "petty merchant, peddler" (often contemptuous), from Middle Dutch hokester "peddler," from hoken "to peddle" (see hawk (v.1)) + agent suffix -ster (which was typically feminine in English, but not in Low German). Specific sense of "advertising salesman" is from 1946 novel by Frederick Wakeman. As a verb, from 1590s. Related: Huckstered; huckstering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper