Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
Posts: 6254
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA


Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:34 pm

• huckster •

Pronunciation: hêk-stêr • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A street peddler, a hawker of petty wares. 2. An overly aggressive, shifty-eyed, seemingly untrustworthy salesman. 3. An agent who produces advertising material.

Notes: Since today's "Good" Word took on its pejorative sense, the words derived from it all have a facetious taste (all the more reason for using them). The practice of huckstering is generally called hucksterism and all hucksters collectively are known as hucksterdom, as to be the best huckster in all hucksterdom.

In Play: Hucksters are usually fast-talking salesmen, pandering to the desires of potential customers if not palming off cheap wares for high prices: "My husband always watches the hucksters in the Sunday morning infomercials hawk their wares." Hucksters today are considered to be dishonest if effective salesmen: "Jes Newcombe is a huckster's huckster who could sell icebergs to Eskimos.

Word History: Etymologists can't help thinking that this word is related to Middle Dutch hokester "peddler" from hoken "to peddle", a relative of the English verb hawk. The specific sense of "an advertising salesman" is due to the 1946 novel The Hucksters by Frederick Wakeman. Huckster is clearly related to hawk, a word that seems to share an origin with German hocken "to crouch, squat". Some have argued that the German word originally meant "to carry pick-a-back" while others argue that the connection goes back to a time when hawkers squatted in a stall. Either way, no one knows where hoken or hocken comes from. (Let's not forget to thank Chris Berry, who doesn't have to huckster Good Words like today's; we love them.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword

User avatar
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 6418
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: Huckster

Postby Slava » Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:47 am

Definitely a word applicable to any politician of whom you don't approve, regardless of party affiliation. A nice, almost gentle, GTA*.

*General Term of Abuse
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

Posts: 126
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2020 11:34 am
Location: Providence, RI

Re: Huckster

Postby bbeeton » Thu Apr 22, 2021 9:43 am

When I was a kid (looong time ago), my mother referred to the vegetable seller who came around the neighborhood a few times a week as "the huckster". At that time, in that context, there was nothing pejorative about it. (In fact, Joe's arrival was a most welcome occurrence.) I had to learn that usage later.

Return to “Good Word Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Philip Hudson and 23 guests