Definition of huckster in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhəkstər/


1A person who sells small items, either door-to-door or from a stall or small store.
Example sentences
  • New ordinances banned boys from throwing rocks, female hucksters from selling food door-to-door, and people of color from assembling after curfew.
  • Wouldn't this make him a set-up for an oily huckster who sold lame horses with a false hump?
  • These homespun medications were sold by itinerant hucksters, pharmacies, and whoever could spellbind a listener with lofty promises of cure.
informal pusher
1.1A mercenary person eager to make a profit out of anything.
Example sentences
  • Many New Yorkers perceived the proposal as a hoax, junk art or the work of just another fly-by-night huckster.
  • An electric broom huckster has no divine right to tell us what design is and isn't.
  • Other content indicators include ALL CAPS text, red font tags, huckster language like ‘pure profit’ and even the word ‘remove.’
1.2North American A publicity agent or advertising copywriter, especially for radio or television.
Example sentences
  • Besides, consumers have always been in an equilibrium with advertisers and hucksters - some gullible people will fall for anything, while others are impervious to all manipulation.
  • The huckster advertises an attractive item-an appliance, aluminum siding, a new kitchen-at an astonishingly low price. That's the bait, and consumers predictably rise to it.
  • Their role is more significant (in a couple of senses) than hucksters whose interest in the lives of other people is limited to an opportunity to ply their craft.


[with object] North American
1Promote or sell (something, typically a product of questionable value).
Example sentences
  • Nearly a century ago, for instance, radio was a new grassroots phenomenon that responded to community needs without huckstering the listeners.
  • These kinds of electronic spaces seem to be far removed from the image of the bustling, huckstering Bartholomew Fair, but it seems that many scholars in the Humanities confuse them.
  • You have thousands of members cancelling their memberships, and that anger is only going to grow as people realize they got huckstered by this bill.
1.1 [no object] Bargain; haggle.
Example sentences
  • Rather than caricaturing him, Gladwell uses Popeil and his family legacy of boardwalk huckstering to teach Madison Avenue lessons it would never have learned in business school.
  • Littlebody grumbles of indignity - ‘the huckstering / - jumping around in your green top hat ‘- but the laws laid down so long ago hold true and he offers up his purse of gold.’
  • Sorry that I have to resort to such shameless huckstering.



Pronunciation: /-izəm/
Example sentences
  • So where, exactly, does personal publicity cross the line into outright hucksterism?
  • There is in this scene incredible creativity, innovation and imagination coupled with sleazy self-promotion, hucksterism, minstrelsy and debasement of the race.
  • There are some delightful things in the old canalside section of town, but they are nearly lost amid the avalanche of commercial hucksterism that lines almost every inch of the canals.


Middle English (in the sense 'retailer at a stall, hawker'): probably of Low German origin.

  • hawk from Old English:

    In politics a hawk, a person who advocates hard-line or warlike policies, contrasts with a dove, a peacemaker. The terms emerged in the early 1960s at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, when the Soviet Union threatened to install missiles in Cuba within striking distance of the USA. To hawk meaning ‘to carry about and offer goods for sale’ was formed in the late 15th century, probably by removing the ending from hawker, ‘a person who travels around selling goods’. The latter word is not recorded until the early 16th century, when hawkers came to legal notice as something of a nuisance to be suppressed, but was most likely in use long before it was written down. It is related to huckster (Middle English), from a root meaning ‘to haggle, bargain’. See also haggard

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: huck·ster

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