One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A pack animal.as modifier ‘a sumpter mule’
- ‘Geldings, coach horses, close carr horses, litter horses and sumpter horses sent expressly for the use of the royal party were allowed 2s per day.’
- ‘They comprised geldings and nags, sumpter horses, teams for coaches, the litter and three carts, as well as some hired post horses.’
- ‘A team of sumpter horses (pack horses), each one in the care of its own sumpterrnan, riding his own horse, was sent up to carry the queen's baggage.’
Middle English: from Old French sommetier, via late Latin from Greek sagma, sagmat- ‘packsaddle’; compare with summer.
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