I am looking for a verb that would describe what merchants do in Fairs. Like this one :

A fair

I find "trade" too formal considering what I need. I am looking for something in the idea of showcasing thingsn interacting with people, polishing products, taking care of the stands. Something conceptually almost as vague as to work but more pointed to this kind of activity.

  • They display and sell their wares. Could you provide a sample sentence that shows how you would use the term, leaving a blank where it would go? Thanks. Oct 11, 2015 at 20:27
  • It is for the title of a section in a document relating to Fairs, there would only be this word, no sentence around it =/ I see what your question is, but I don't even see how to fit it in a phrase in a way that would make my meaning clearer
    – tobiak777
    Oct 11, 2015 at 20:32

7 Answers 7


He sounds like a hawker:

A person who travels about selling goods, typically advertising them by shouting. hawkers and costermongers pushed their little handcarts, crying ‘Bread!’, ‘Fish!’ and ‘Meat pies!’ (-- Oxford Dictionaries Online)

  • I love it, amazingly suited to the fair thematic
    – tobiak777
    Oct 11, 2015 at 20:25
  • 3
    Pedlar is similar: the technical difference is that they are on foot while hawkers have carts. Oct 11, 2015 at 20:32
  • 2
    @red2nb - hawker is a noun, you said you were looking for a verb, which is of course to hawk. At a fair, the merchants are hawking their wares.
    – AndyT
    Oct 12, 2015 at 9:35

Peddle. They peddle their wares.

"try to sell (something, especially small goods) by going from place to place"


You can say they market:

  • (v. int.) to deal in a market; engage in buying or selling.


  • 1
    Very interesting ! I'll check if there's a synonym, the only problem I see with this word, is that I feel that in our modern society, when people read market, they can think of so many different thing (marketing, stock exchange, etc...) I'd like to keep them in a certain state of mind related to fairs
    – tobiak777
    Oct 11, 2015 at 20:17
  • I see, consider that the original meaning is: Market: early 12c., "a meeting at a fixed time for buying and selling livestock and provisions," . to market: 1630s, from market (n.).
    – user66974
    Oct 11, 2015 at 20:24

I think vend is closest to what you are looking for. People who sell at fairs are known as vendors. Vend encompasses all activities involved with setting up a stall and selling wares at a fair.

From Oxforddictionaries.com:

Offer (small items, especially food) for sale, especially either from a stall or from a slot machine.


tout, the merchants tout for business.

The word tout is like hawk but has slight connotations of shameless desperation


I'd suggest huckster.

(n) huckster: retailer of small articles; a hawker; a peddler; now, especially, a small dealer in agricultural produce.

(v) huckster: to expose for sale; make a matter of bargain.

(Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia)

Alternately, pitchman might fit the context just as well.

pitch: to attempt to sell or win approval for; promote; advertise: to pitch cereals at a sales convention. (Random House)

pitchman: someone who travels about vending their wares (as on the streets or at carnivals) (Free Dictionary)


Merchants may expose or exhibit goods, i.e. offer or expose to view.

Examples: The storekeeper exposed his wares. The latest models of cars were exhibited in Detroit Auto Show.

A pitchman or a street peddler also makes commerce.

"Commerce" refers to activities that relate to the buying and selling of goods and services, and also to social intercourse (e.g. interchange of ideas, opinions, or sentiments).

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