"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Saturday, 18 April 2009


A costermonger is (or was- since the term is rarely used now) a hawker of fruit and vegetables from a barrow. A costard was the 14th century name for a type of large, ribbed apple and later came to be the name given to apples in general. A costard-monger was initially an apple-seller. The name gradually changed to costermonger.


  1. Oh! So interesting! I had to look it up, because I thought "monger" was not necessarily a good thing. Come to find out, it depends on where you live, right?

    1. a person who is involved with something in a petty or contemptible way (usually used in combination): a gossipmonger.
    2. Chiefly British. a dealer in or trader of a commodity (usually used in combination): fishmonger.

  2. I'd never heard the first meaning, Shabby Girl. Quite fascinating how words change as they cross the water.

  3. What an interesting way to use a blog... teaching us all these words not much used these days.
    Yes I have heard of the word monger and costermonger, but have never thought of them in depth before. You have stirred my interest.
    You do have a lot of blogs! how do you keep up with them all? us mere mortals find it hard to keep one going, well I do anyway.
    I'll visit again... and I like my coffee strong and black!
    Love Granny

  4. OK Granny, no sugar, I presume.
    As to keeping all these blogs going it remains to be seen how they survive the next couple of months as I'll be away for most of them staying first with daughter, then brother. Which means resurrecting Exeter and Hebridean blogs... Help!

  5. Fascinating! I'll be keeping an eye on your blogs.