One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A peddler of books, newspapers, and similar literature.
travelling salesman, door-to-door salesmanView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- 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.’
- ‘Throughout the 1890s, Korean colporteurs worked with missionaries to distribute texts throughout the country.’
- ‘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.’
Late 18th century: French, from the verb colporter, probably an alteration of comporter, from Latin comportare ‘carry with one’.
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