Why is it called a flea market?

Why is it called a flea market?

We’ve all heard of them and we all did some shopping in them at some point. The chances are that you found some unique pieces in there as well. But why is it called a flea market? Well, obviously, they aren’t selling fleas there – or at least, we hope not.

At its basis, a flea market is a designated area where people can buy and sell second-hand goods. Most of these flea markets are seasonal and are set up alongside the street – or sometimes, in brick-and-mortar places to meet the demand. People go there to sell the items that they no longer need, from clothes to furniture and all kinds of unique items. This once more makes us ask ourselves: where do the fleas come in?

Well, while we do not have a clear answer to where the name started, we do have various theories. It is believed that the term comes from the French that called them le marché aux puces – meaning, the market of fleas. Some say that flea markets are called this way because they sold flea-infested furniture.

After all, everything sold there was second-hand; when flea markets started, you were bound to find a flea or two hidden in there. Flea markets have been around for more than 100 years now, so it would not be uncommon to find these vermin in any furniture that you just bought.

However, there is one more theory that the name came from the “flea-sized prices.” After all, you got a great bargain for which you paid very little; the price was so little, you could barely see it. Some believe that the term originated from the Dutch “Vlie Market” as well – a word that they pronounced close to “fly” and eventually became “flea.”

There are many theories as to why it’s called that, and we may never get a straightforward answer. However, we know that if we want to get a good bargain, a flea market is where we go to.

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