One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person who followed an army and sold provisions to the soldiers.
- ‘Among the sutlers ' stores captured by the Confederates at Manassas Junction (a major Union supply base) on August 26-27, 1862, were quantities of canned oysters.’
- ‘The middle section consists of two long poems about soldiers and war, the second of which gives the collection its title: a sutler was a camp-follower who sold provisions to soldiers - provisions often taken from the dead.’
- ‘Essentially a sutler was a camp follower who sold provisions to the soldiers, part of early logistics.’
- ‘For example, re-enactment societies may importune their members to prepare for upcoming events by ‘going to their history books’ and contacting an authorized sutler to be properly kitted out.’
Late 16th century: from obsolete Dutch soeteler, from soetelen ‘perform mean duties’.
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