One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
vendor, retailer, purveyor, shopkeeper, supplier, stockist, trader, merchant, dealerView synonyms
- ‘The roads were thronged with petty chapmen, with their news-sheets, tracts, almanacs, cautionary tales, pamphlets full of homespun wisdom; pedlars with trinkets of all sorts; and travelling entertainers.’
- ‘But these books are short - about twenty pages each - and without a spine, so we can call them chapbooks, which once meant works of popular literature sold for a few pennies, carried around by peddlers or ‘chapmen’.’
- ‘Chapmen on foot were the poorest and those with shops the richest.’
- ‘And smaller books were not just available from bookshops: all cities and towns would have had pedlars or chapmen selling pamphlets from trays or baskets hanging from their necks.’
- ‘In 1471 Roger leaves his monastic life to become a chapman.’
Old English cēapman, from cēap ‘bargaining, trade’ (see cheap) + man.
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