One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A dealer in animal skins or hides.
1A person who pelts someone or something, especially with missiles.
2Informal (chiefly humorous). A gun.
3Informal. A pelting shower, rainstorm, etc.
4Informal (chiefly regional). A rage, a temper; a state of agitation.
5In plural Scottish informal. Verbal or written abuse; severe criticism. Especially in "to get (also receive) pelters", "to give a person pelters".
An old, feeble, or inferior horse.
1no object Especially of rain: to patter or beat down; = "pelt".
2with object To deliver repeated blows to; to go on pelting or striking.
3no object To move quickly or vigorously; = "pelt". Now rare.
Middle English; earliest use found in Feet Fines of Kent. Partly from pelt + -er, and partly from Anglo-Norman pelter, variant of peleter pelleter. Compare Middle Dutch pelser skinner, (rarely) furrier (Dutch † pelser), Middle Low German pelser, pelzer, Middle High German belzer furrier (German † Pelzer)<br>early 18th century; earliest use found in Jonathan Swift (1667–1745), writer and dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. From pelt + -er<br>mid 19th century; earliest use found in The Spirit of the Times: a chronicle of the turf, agriculture, field sports, literature and the stage. Origin uncertain; perhaps a transferred use of pelter, ‘in allusion to the mud thrown up by a horse's hoofs when traveling on muddy roads’ ( Dict. American Eng s.v.), although it is unclear why this should apply particularly to an inferior horse; a connection with pelter is unlikely given the chronological gap; ironic use of pelter is also unlikely, as this is first attested later<br>late 17th century; earliest use found in Matthew Stevenson (d. 1684), poet. From pelt + -er.
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