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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Indeed, I could have loaded them all onto a borrowed costermonger's barrow and shifted them myself if I'd needed to.’
- ‘A Cockney costermonger is revealed as the new Earl of Hareford to the consternation of his aristocratic relations.’
Early 16th century (denoting an apple seller): from costard + -monger.
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