One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A man who carries on a trade or occupation in the streets; a street worker or trader. Now rare.
2Slang (originally and chiefly US). A petty criminal who operates on the streets, especially as a pickpocket or drug pusher.
Mid 17th century (in an earlier sense). From street + man.
street man/ˈstriːt ˌman/
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