BADGER, a term of uncertain derivation (possibly derived from bagger, in allusion to the hawker's bag) for a dealer in food, such as corn or victuals (more expressly, fish, butter or cheese), which he has purchased in one place and brought for sale to another place; an itinerant dealer, corresponding to the modern hawker or huckster. An English statute of 1552 which summarized, and prescribed penalties against, the offences of engrossing, forestalling and regrating, specially exempted badgers from these penalties, but required them to be licensed by three justices of the peace for the county in which they dwelt. A statute of 1562-1563, after declaring that many people took up the trade of badgering "seeking only to live easily and to leave their honest labour," enacted that badgers should be licensed for a year only, should be householders of three years' standing in the county in which they were licensed, and should enter into recognizances not to engross or forestall. An act of 1844 abolished the offence of badgering, and repealed the statutes passed in relation to it. The word is still in common use in country districts.
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