- a street seller of fish, fruit, vegetables, poultry, &c. The London costermongers number more than 30,000. They form a distinct class, occupying whole neighbourhoods, and were at one time cut off from the rest of metropolitan society by their low habits, general improvidence, pugnacity, love of gambling, total want of education, disregard for lawful marriage ceremonies, and their use of a peculiar slang language. They have changed a good deal of this, though, now. COSTERMONGER _aliter_ COSTARDMONGER, _i.e._, an apple-seller. In Nares’s _Glossary_ (Ed. H. & W.) they are said to have been frequently Irish. So, Ben Jonson— “Her father was an Irish COSTAR-MONGER.” _Alchym._, iv. x. “In England, sir, troth I ever laugh when I think on ’t, ----Why, sir, there all the COSTER-MONGERS are Irish.” _2 P. Hen. IV., O. Pl._, iii. 375. Their noisy manners are alluded to in Beaumont and Fletcher’s _Scornful Lady_, iv. I. “And then he’ll rail like a rude COSTER-MONGER That school-boys had couzened of his apples, As loud and senseless.”
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