1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Coster-monger

COSTER-MONGER (originally Costard-monger, a seller of costards, a species of large ribbed apple). The word “monger” is common, in various forms, in Teutonic languages in the sense of trader or dealer, and appears in “iron-monger” and “fish-monger,” and with a derogatory significance of petty or underhand dealing in such words as “scandal-monger.” A “coster-monger,” or “coster,” originally, therefore, one who sold apples and fruit in the street, is now an itinerant dealer in fruit, vegetables or fish, but more particularly, as distinguished from a “hawker” on the one hand, and “general dealer” on the other, is a street trader in the above commodities who uses a barrow. The coster-monger’s trade in London, so far as it falls under clause 6 of the Metropolitan Streets Act 1867, which deals with obstruction by goods to footways and streets is subject to regulations of the commissioner of police. So long as these are carried out, coster-mongers, street hawkers and itinerant traders are exempted, by an amending act, from the liabilities imposed by clause 6 of the above act.