mahng-gêr • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A dealer or trader who usually sells goods on a small scale, often door to door, as a fishmonger, woodmonger, bookmonger. 2. Someone who deals in or exploits the undesirable, as a hatemonger, fearmonger, gossipmonger.
Notes: Today this Good Word is used almost exclusively in compound nouns in its second, pejorative sense, as in fleshmonger, rumormonger, and powermonger. Even words like bookmonger and lovemonger imply trade in something used or of low quality. The exception is, of course, Dr. Goodword, who is a proud wordmonger of extremely Good Words.
In Play: The use of today's word by itself has an archaic ring, but it still works in the right context: "Mavis is a prominent monger of rumors and gossip in our little town." You may also use this word as a verb: "Mavis mongers her gossip and rumors to anyone who has the time and lack of character to listen."
Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed by Old English from Latin mango "slave trader, trader who embellishes his wares", a work akin to Greek maggonon "magic potion or other means of trickery, war machine". The original PIE root was *mang- "to embellish, dress up". It turns up in English as mangle "clothes wringer" and in a few other languages in words referring to machines. (We are happy that Arden Sinclair mongered today's Good Word to us; the product is solid and the price was right.)
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