Definition of colporteur in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkɒlˌpɔːtə//ˌkɒlpɔːˈtəː/


  • 1A person who sells books, newspapers, and similar literature.

    • ‘The prefect's efforts in this affair were focused on the persecution of colporteurs, key figures in the marketing and distribution of antigovernment pamphlets and newspapers.’
    travelling salesman, door-to-door salesman
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Someone employed by a religious society to distribute bibles and other religious tracts.
      • ‘E. G. Wheeler and his wife were the first Baptist chapel car colporteurs.’
      • ‘At one time it employed nearly 300 colporteurs, and virtually every parish in the country was visited by one of its men and his bag of books.’
      • ‘Throughout the 1890s, Korean colporteurs worked with missionaries to distribute texts throughout the country.’


Late 18th century: French, from the verb colporter, probably an alteration of comporter, from Latin comportare ‘carry with one’.