hawker and draper - definitions #general


victoria <vbar@...>
 

There have been several queries about the terms *hawker* and *draper*.
Here is how the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines them. (I have
been advised by the Moderators that I cannot quote the Dictionary
directly, but I assume that it's OK to paraphrase it.)

The word *hawker* is derived >from a Middle Low German word *hocken*
which means *to take or carry on the back*. But the meaning appears
to have changed over time. When it first entered the English
language, it refered to someone who goes >from place to place selling
his wares. By the late 19th century in England (if not earlier), a
hawker was distinguished >from a pedlar: a hawker used a horse and
cart to carry his goods while a pedlar carried them on his back. Not
surprisingly, a hawker's license was more expensive than a pedlar's
license.

The word *draper* came, through Anglo-French, >from *drap*, the French
word for *cloth*.Originally, *draper* referred to a person who made
cloth. Then it came to mean someone who sold cloth, and later, by
extension, articles made >from cloth.

Victoria Barkoff
Montreal, Canada