late 14c. (c. 1300 as a surname, Will. Le Pedelare), from peoddere, peddere (c. 1200, mid-12c. as a surname), of unknown origin. It has the appearance of an agent noun, but no corresponding verb is attested in Middle English. Perhaps a diminutive of ped "panier, basket," also of unknown origin, but this is attested only from late 14c. Pedlar, preferred spelling in U.K., is attested from late 14c.