One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person who sells goods, especially fruit and vegetables, from a handcart in the street.
- ‘Market barrows, or costermongers, originated in the East End of London and remain a popular scene in places like Victoria Station, Covent Garden and Leather Lane in Holborn.’
- ‘It is an Act to prevent obstruction, and I think that its whole scheme shows that it is aimed at barrow-boys, costermongers, hawkers or others who expose goods in the street for sale and offer them for sale at that time.’
- ‘A Cockney costermonger is revealed as the new Earl of Hareford to the consternation of his aristocratic relations.’
- ‘Indeed, I could have loaded them all onto a borrowed costermonger's barrow and shifted them myself if I'd needed to.’
- ‘The old fruit and veg market that once echoed with the calls of cockney costermongers is now home to gourmet burger bars and stalls selling Javanese pottery.’
Early 16th century (denoting an apple seller): from costard + -monger.
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