One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A wayfarer, especially an itinerant merchant or trader. Chiefly in plural, in "Court of Piepowders"noun also in singular a summary court formerly held at fairs and markets to administer justice among itinerant dealers and others temporarily resident.
2Court of Piepowders. Also in plural with singular concord.
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Domesday Ipswich. From Anglo-Norman pepoudrous, pié poudrous (adjective) dusty-footed, (noun) wayfarer (1214; compare Middle French (Poitou) pyé pouldreux travelling merchant, French † pied poudreux person unable to pay, also Middle French, French † avoir les pieds poudreux to leave without paying) from pié foot + poudrus dusty (from poudre + -ous, -eux). Compare post-classical Latin pede-pulverosus wayfarer, itinerant merchant, lit. dusty of foot, dusty-footed (from classical Latin pede, ablative of pēs foot + post-classical Latin pulverosus).
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