02 September 2020

Word of the day - "monger"

A dealer or trader in a commodity. The Random House Dictionary states the ultimate origin is from the Latin "mango", meaning .... salesman! ["Death of a mango?"]

"Monger" was once used as a verb, but it now is typically only employed as the second element of compound words. My OED says examples of such formations are "unlimited", with examples beginning in the 13th century: hay-mongers, holy-water mongers, insect-mongers (?) etc. The most familiar would likely be cheesemonger, costermonger (fruit/veggies), fishmonger, ironmonger, and whoremonger.

As the last-named example suggests, the OED notes that from the 16th century onward, the term nearly always carries the implication of a petty, disreputable, or comtemptible trade in the material - as in the modern "rumor-monger" "gossip-monger" and "scandal-monger."

Here is a costermonger:

...and there is a fearmonger at the end of this brief [2008] video:

Reposted to add yet another example:

Cartoon by Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, via the political cartoon-laden Jobsanger.

Reposted from the last election cycle to add some examples of current fearmongering:

The Democratic party went through a heart-wrenching primary process, during which the voters ultimately rejected the radical left in favor of a moderate Joe Biden.  But the Wisconsin Republican Party combined Biden with images of their standard behemoths of radicalism to claim that they control him.

And Trump is using this same tactic:
“People that you’ve never heard of” are controlling Mr. Biden, he told the Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “People that are in the dark shadows.”

“What does that mean?” Ms. Ingraham asked. “That sounds like conspiracy theory.”

“No,” Mr. Trump answered. “People that you haven’t heard of. They’re people that are on the streets. They’re people that are controlling the streets. We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in the plane, it was almost completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear and this and that. They’re on a plane.”
This is not conventional confrontational politics.  These are the ramblings of a deranged mind.


  1. More specifically, in Latin "mango" had a very negative connotation. The word was used to describe a dishonest salesman, a swindler (Pliny the Elder) or a slave trader (Seneca)... Relevant? Maybe.

  2. Nothing better than a mango monger


    1. If only the photograph had been taken in Munger...


    2. Or in a manger.
      Funny; as soon as I typed that, I realized that the English word manger no doubt derives from the same word in French - manger - meaning to eat.

  3. My father-in-law is seriously worried about post-election riots, due to the flavor of "news" he prefers to ingest.

    1. You mean "light, not filling!" news?

    2. I think she means "Fair and Balanced" news, aka Fox News.

    3. I would like to suggest a good podcast for anyone interested in the history and meaning of words: http://historyofenglishpodcast.com/

    4. Thank you, Dutch [my father's childhood nickname, btw, because he was "deutsch.") I've downloaded all 80+ episodes to iTunes and burned a couple onto CDs to listen to while driving. Much appreciated.

    5. Why worry about post-election riots when there are current riots to join?

  4. you can add the ever popular 'warmonger' and 'hatemonger' to your list of moderns.


  5. In junior high, the family business was a fish market, so the teacher referred to me as the fishmonger's son.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...