Monger, mongerer… mongrel?

I read something the other day in which the writer used the word ‘mongerer’… does it exist? I thought the word was monger – with the ‘er’ ending that many occupations or activities have, cooper, porter,  dancer,  thatcher, weaver, swimmer, writer, etc. Mongerer would be like saying teacherer or driverer… or so I thought. Well, apparently mongerer is used, but monger is more correct!

This is something I wrote some time ago about it (I obviously have a fascination for the word!)

I used the word fishmonger the other day and it reminded me of a family story from many years ago when we saw a shop sign “Elsden’s Ongers”. Elsden is quite an unusual name so we noticed this and had a little laugh about it and I wondered for some time what ‘Ongers’ were… until I belated realised that Mr Elsden must have had a fishm -ongers, or an ironm-ongers!

Since then I have wondered then about the derivation of the word; I understood that monger meant dealer or trader, and of course when I looked it up I was exactly right, it comes from Latin, through old English to today’s meaning. So fish mongers deal in fish, iron mongers deal in iron. It can be used linked to other words, for example warmonger or gossip monger. I believe I have heard the term fleshmonger for butcher (in the literal sense not the gruesome murder sense!) but I cannot find an origin or connection for that.

My husband’s parents lived in a house called Cormongers, but I can’t find any origin for the name so I am guessing it was either something like corn monger, or something else which transformed over the centuries, or it had a meaning which is now lost. Going back to Ongers… the name so tickled me that I once named my house ‘Ongers’!

Find out more here:

But what about mongrel? Is that anything to do with it? Well no… it comes from an old word ‘gemong’ which means mingling…


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