Chapmen

A chapman (plural chapmen) was an itinerant dealer or hawker in early modern Britain.

Contents

Etymology

Old English céapmann was the regular term for "dealer, seller", cognate to the synonymous Dutch koopman. Old English céap meant "deal, barter, business". The modern adjective cheap is a comparatively recent development from the phrase a good cheap, literally "a good deal" (cf. modern-day Dutch goedkoop = cheap). The word also appears in names such as Cheapside, Eastcheap and Chepstow; all markets or dealing places. By 1600, the word chapman had come to be applied to an itinerant dealer in particular, but it remained in use for "customer, buyer" as well as "merchant" in the 17th and 18th centuries, The habit of calling a young man a chap arose from the use of the abbreviated word to mean a customer, one with whom to bargain.

The word was applied to hawkers of chapbooks, broadside ballads, and similar items. Their stock in trade provides a graphic insight into the methods of political and religious campaigners of the Civil War period, for example.

Chapman is also a common personal name of the class derived from trades.

Examples of use

One famous instance of the use of the term is found in the opening lines of the poem Tam o' Shanter by Robert Burns:

Whan chapman billies leave the street
And drouthy neibours neibours meet...
When young traders retire from the market
And thirsty neighbours meet together...

References

Oxford English Dictionary.

External links



Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chapmen — Chapman Chap man, n.; pl. {Chapmen}. [AS. ce[ a]pman; ce[ a]p trade + man man; akin to D. koopman, Sw. k[ o]pman, Dan. ki[ o]pmand, G. kaufmann.f. {Chap} to cheapen, and see {Cheap}.] 1. One who buys and sells; a merchant; a buyer or a seller.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • petty chapmen — Persons traveling from town to town with goods and merchandise. Emmous v Lewiston, 132 Ill 380, 24 NE 58 …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • Chapbook — Chap Book redirects here. For the 19th century American magazine, see The Chap Book. Chapbook frontispiece of Voltaire s The Extraodinary Fate of Calas, showing a man being tortured, late 17th century. A chapbook is a pocket sized booklet. The… …   Wikipedia

  • Chapbook —  Ne doit pas être confondu avec The Chap Book. Frontispice d un chapbook : fin du XVIIIe siècle ou début du XIXe siècle …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Chapman — Chap man, n.; pl. {Chapmen}. [AS. ce[ a]pman; ce[ a]p trade + man man; akin to D. koopman, Sw. k[ o]pman, Dan. ki[ o]pmand, G. kaufmann.f. {Chap} to cheapen, and see {Cheap}.] 1. One who buys and sells; a merchant; a buyer or a seller. [Obs.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Peddler — Monger redirects here. For other uses, see Monger (disambiguation). Peddle redirects here. For the surname, see Peddle (surname). Peddlers redirects here. For the pop trio, see The Peddlers. A peddler, in British English pedlar, also known as a… …   Wikipedia

  • Cleveland Bay — Wichtige Daten Ursprung: England, Mittelalter Hauptzuchtgebiet: Yorkshire Verbreitung: gefährdete Rasse …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Yorkshire Coach Horse — Cleveland Bay Wichtige Daten Ursprung: England, Mittelalter Hauptzuchtgebiet: Yorkshire Verbreitung: gefährdete Rasse Stockmaß …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • chapbook — /chap book /, n. 1. a small book or pamphlet of popular tales, ballads, etc., formerly hawked about by chapmen. 2. a small book or pamphlet, often of poetry. [1790 1800; chap (as in CHAPMAN) + BOOK] * * * ▪ literature       small, inexpensive… …   Universalium

  • Chapbook — Chap book , n. [See {Chap} to cheapen.] Any small book carried about for sale by chapmen or hawkers. Hence, any small book; a toy book. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.