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See also: Peeler


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Alternative forms[edit]


Etymology 1[edit]

From the surname of Sir Robert Peel, who established the Irish constabulary and London's police force; compare bobby, from the given name.


peeler (plural peelers)

  1. (Britain, Ireland, Australia, slang) A police officer.
    • 1892, Banjo Paterson, The Man from Ironbark:
      A peeler man who heard the din came in to see the show;
      He tried to run the bushman in, but he refused to go.
      And when at last the barber spoke, and said "'Twas all in fun—
      'Twas just a little harmless joke, a trifle overdone."
    • 2004, Alice McIntyre, Women in Belfast: How Violence Shapes Identity, →ISBN, page 57:
      I was standin' there and the car came down the street with the two peelers comin' after them and I'm standin' here with [my son] in my arms.
    • 2004, “Don’t Hand Me Over”, in The Box Set 1964-2004(2004) No.2[1], performed by Christy Moore:
      How do you fight back o get your right back to walk free down the street when your name and address singles you out for every Peeler on the beat?
    • 2011, Marie Brennan, With Fate Conspire, →ISBN:
      Special Irish Branch was looking for Fenians in South Kensington; going from there to a Catholic church for Easter Mass was very nearly the stupidest thing Eliza could do, short of walking into Scotland Yard and cursing the peelers out in Irish.
    • 2013, James Benmore, Dodger, →ISBN:
      It was Jem and Georgie that was in mortal danger, true, but there was not one of us that wanted the peelers asking us questions.
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English peler, piller, pyllare, pilour, pelure, pelour, equivalent to peel +‎ -er.

Potato Peeler. 1886
A cinnamon peeler
A variety of household peelers
surfing a peeler


peeler (plural peelers)

  1. One who peels.
    • 2014, Karen Jean Matsko Hood, Halloween Delights Cookbook: A Collection of Halloween Recipes, →ISBN:
      According to another superstition, the longer the peel, the longer the peeler's life would be.
    1. A person whose job it is to peel fruit or vegetable produce.
      • 2001, Marisa De Franceschi, Family Matters, →ISBN, page 26:
        She and I took a few minutes together once the belts began rolling with red tomatoes and with the shiny cans which clanked their hollow wind-chime twang as they paraded down the chute on the way to their own conveyor belts which ran parallel to the wide ones the tomatoes rode on. In order to get these few minutes she'd had to implement a schedule for the peelers, who were always fighting like schoolchildren to get to the front of the line to claim their places, vying for the best spots where they could grab the biggest tomatoes to fill their cans faster.
    2. A person who works by peeling the bark off trees.
      • 1833, Asiatic Journal, page 272:
        From about this time, it became customary to permit the peelers to appear annually before the government, immediately after the termination of the cinnamon-harvest.
      • 2009, David Stradling, Making Mountains: New York City and the Catskills, →ISBN, page 31:
        Women cooked and cleaned in the larger camps, where the peelers stayed for a month or more. A good peeler could make two cords of bark a day, felling hemlocks and peeling the bark off only the trunk below the first branch.
      • 2009, Edmund Jefferson Danziger, Great Lakes Indian Accommodation and Resistance During the Early Reservation Years, 1850-1900, →ISBN:
        Females trained in household arts received good pay, while males sought jobs on large farms, as bark peelers at lumber mills or axmen for logging companies, and as track hands for the railroads.
    3. (derogatory, slang) A stripper; one who disrobes for entertainment.
    4. (obsolete) One who peels or pillages.
  2. A device for peeling fruit or vegetables.
    1. A household utensil for peeling fruit or vegetables.
      • 2011, Ken Haedrich, Apple Pie, →ISBN:
        I like to use a swivel peeler on my apples, mainly because a good peeler removes the skin only, without hacking off the flesh underneath the way a knife will, even in dept hands.
      • 2012, Bee Wilson, Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, →ISBN:
        The OXO peeler was a game-changer. More than 10 million have been sold to date, and it threw open the entire market in peelers, causing numerous rivals to be invented: serrated fruit peelers, vegetable peelers with curved blades, Y-shaped and C-shaped and U-shaped peelers in any colour you desire (and many you don't).
      • 2014, Mark McWilliams, Food & Material Culture, →ISBN:
        What the Romans didn't have was anything like the ergonomic vegetable peeler.
      potato peeler
    2. An industrial food-processing machine for removing the peels or skins.
      • 1985, E. Budziński, P. Bykowski, & D. Dutkiewicz, Possibilities of Processing and Marketing of Products Made from Antarctic Krill, →ISBN:
        Fish-processing equipment consists of 33, 181, 189, 188, 694 Baader machines and others which would be replaced for six months by krill peelers with associated devices.
      • 1991, David Arthey & Colin Dennis, Vegetable Processing, →ISBN, page 52:
        Peelers with knife blades mounted in the outside walls of a revolving drum in which the product is tumbled have a similar effect as an abrasion peeler.
      • 2002, George D. Saravacos & Athanasios E. Kostaropoulos, Handbook of Food Processing Equipment, →ISBN, page 253:
        The peels are removed mostly with wet peelers, using lye solutions or high-pressure steam.
      • 2012, John A. Troller, Sanitation in Food Processing, →ISBN, page 337:
        Washers and peelers usually are cleaned in place, either with dedicated clean-in-place systems, or, more commonly, the equipment is simply filled with water and operated for a short period of time, followed by rinsing.
  3. Something to be peeled.
    • 1965, Progress Report on the Cartographic Activities of the United States:
      To prepare the vignette, the limits of all control areas are scribed as thin lines on one sheet of coated plastic, and a mask is prepared for each of the two colors on plastic sheets with a peeler coating.
    • 1986, United States International Trade Commission, Apple juice: report to the President on investigation no. TA-201-59 under section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, page A-1:
      Canning apples ("peelers") must be over 2-1/2 inches in diameter; peelers may have surface damage since they will be peeled in the process of making apple sauce or slices, but they must be round for the peeling machines to handle them properly.
  4. Something that is peeling, about to peel, or prone to peeling.
    • 2008, Amos Nussinovitch, Water-Soluble Polymer Applications in Foods, →ISBN, page 52:
      Xanthan gum was introduced into a traditional, wax-based coating formulation for easy peelers.
    • 2012, Raymond H. Clark, Handbook of Printed Circuit Manufacturing, →ISBN, page 171:
      It will be necessary to continually monitor the holes for voids and the plating for peelers -- but this is a good idea for any plating operation which uses dry film photoresist.
    1. An edible crab that is about to shed its shell.
      • 1986, Ruth Scarborough Tate & Suzanne Tate, Duck Tales: Folk Tales and Anecdotes, →ISBN:
        They bought peelers [crabs that would soon shed] and kept them in large wooden floats until the crabs shed.
      • 2007, Aliza Green, Field Guide to Seafood, →ISBN:
        Once the crab has molted, the new shell takes about four days to harden. Just after shedding, the blue crab's shell is soft enough to eat. Watermen harvest soft shell crabs as peelers (about to shed), rank peelers (within hours of shedding) and busters (in the process of shedding).
      • 2013, Alan Vaughan & Mike Ladle, Hooked On Bass, →ISBN:
        It is rarer to find paired edible crabs, and potential peelers need to be tested.
  5. (surfing) An ideal wave.
    • 2010, Sam Bleakley, Surfing Brilliant Corners, →ISBN, page 174:
      Fancy a wave, one of those little peelers?
    • 2011, Matt Warshaw, The History of Surfing, →ISBN, page 465:
      If he could ride a trend as well as he could ride a First Point Malibu peeler—well, that's how the game was played.
    • 2016, William Povletich, Some Like It Cold: Surfing the Malibu of the Midwest, →ISBN:
      As the next five-foot peeler rolled by, Lee grasped his board and clenched his teeth.
  6. (horticulture) A plant which impoverishes the soil by demanding high value nutrients and so requires the use of fertilizers.
  7. Someone who breaks horses.
    • 1969, Ralph F. Jones, Longhorns North of the Arkansas, page 84:
      It took a real good bronc peeler ( horse breaker ) to handle those big 79 broncs ;
    • 1992, Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses, →ISBN, page 106:
      My old daddy always said that the purpose of breakin a horse was to ride it and if you got one to break you just as well to saddle up and climb aboard and get on with it. John Grady grinned. Was your old daddy a certified peeler?
    • 2009, Jon Sharpe, Tucson Temptress:
      "Where do you keep your horse?” Snakeroot flushed. “Ain't got one. Never did. I can't ride.” “Can't . . . ? You said you were a horse peeler.”