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In some developing countries, some sellers walk/ride on streets and call out loud to advertise their products and attract customers.

They often sell traditional food or ice cream. In the past they used their actual voice, which could make them exhausted. Now they use recorders with loud speakers, which save their energy.

Is it natural to say "the seller is calling out loud to advertise her products"?

1 Answer 1


Your suggestion is perfectly understandable, but there are a few special words for this in English. The first is hawk.

Bing gives this definition,

carry around and offer (goods) for sale, typically advertising them by shouting.

This word isn't much used in the US these days, but it's easily understood. It's well known in Singapore, for example, although there it refers to selling items from fixed outdoor stalls rather than while walking around. A person who sells things this way is called a hawker.

Another related term is to tout,

attempt to sell (something), typically by pestering people in an aggressive or bold manner.

Again, I'm more familiar with this word from a few visits to Singapore than from a lifetime in the US, although most Americans would probably understand it with context.

And there is a somewhat old-fashioned use of the word cry,

(of a street trader) shout out the name of (goods for sale).

For example you could say the trader in your picture is "crying her goods". There is even a Wikipedia article about these historical street cries.

So, for example, you could say

  • The woman walked the streets hawking tomatoes and garlic.

  • As she walked she touted her goods.

  • She carried tomatoes and garlic through the streets, crying her wares as she went.

  • We still say that street or market sellers 'cry their wares'. Jul 19, 2020 at 8:59
  • @MichaelHarvey, Living in the US, I've never seen the term come up, except in historical contexts. Maybe in other countries, it's still current.
    – The Photon
    Jul 19, 2020 at 13:41
  • The Photon - the municipal code of the City of Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts, Section 191-1, of 1980, says "No person hawking, peddling or carrying or exposing any articles for sale shall cry his wares to the disturbance of the peace and the comfort of the inhabitants of the City nor otherwise than in vehicles or receptacles which are neat and clean and do not leak." The expression is common in municipal codes across the US. Jul 19, 2020 at 14:00
  • @MichaelHarvey, 1. Since there's a law against it, it probably doesn't happen much, leading to the term not being used often in daily conversation. 2. Legal usages contain many terms and usages that are obsolete in daily conversation because they have well-established meaning in the law even after they've dropped out of use in conversation. 3. Just because the law was written in 1980 doesn't mean it wasn't copied verbatim from earlier laws.
    – The Photon
    Jul 19, 2020 at 14:02
  • You can cry your wares in Haverhill as long as you do it quietly using a neat, clean, non-leaking vehicle or receptacle. Jul 19, 2020 at 14:06

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