Definition of charlatan in English:



  • A person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill.

    ‘a self-confessed con artist and charlatan’
    • ‘They are all a bunch of charlatans and confidence men.’
    • ‘But then we'd expect that - the same thing happened to Newton without him being considered a charlatan or a fraud.’
    • ‘If we do not expose him for a fraud and a charlatan we give him credibility.’
    • ‘I saw myself protecting poetry against the pretenders, the charlatans, the fakers.’
    • ‘That man was proclaimed a fool, a crook and a charlatan up and down the country.’
    • ‘I'm either a liar, a cheat, and a charlatan, or I'm crazy, and I have these weird visions that are purely from my imagination.’
    • ‘Was he the charlatan and opportunist many still claim him to be?’
    • ‘He despised quacks and charlatans because he admired the power of thought and reason so profoundly.’
    • ‘Unless, of course, you want to be unmasked for the charlatan and scoundrel you are.’
    • ‘Take the case of the charlatan who claims to transmit thoughts at a distance.’
    • ‘They are being led by hypocrites at best, charlatans and con men at worse.’
    • ‘But even apart from the reactionary content of their politics, the dearth of substantive analysis brands them as charlatans and imposters.’
    • ‘We are a laid back people - yet we're not a dumb people, and we will not be fooled by a political charlatan such as yourself.’
    • ‘The quacks and charlatans, after all, may not be worth much in terms of delivering on their promises.’
    • ‘The team does not feel the average person today is as ignorant toward shams and charlatans as they might have been just ten years ago.’
    • ‘Please, please keep up the good work exposing the ever-increasing hoards of quacks and charlatans out there.’
    • ‘Its history is littered with crooks, con men and charlatans.’
    • ‘This is confirmed by the long history of charlatans and quacks who appear highly plausible to the public, but not to experienced doctors.’
    • ‘Whoever promises a quick and easy solution is either a fool, a charlatan or a demagogue.’
    • ‘So he was a liar and a charlatan, every magician is.’
    quack, mountebank, sham, fraud, fake, humbug, impostor, pretender, masquerader, hoodwinker, hoaxer, cheat, deceiver, dissembler, double-dealer, double-crosser, trickster, confidence trickster, cheater, swindler, fraudster, racketeer
    rogue, villain, scoundrel
    phoney, sharper, sharp, shark, conman, con artist, hustler, flimflammer, flimflam man
    grifter, bunco artist, gold brick, chiseller
    shicer, magsman, illywhacker
    confidence man, confidence woman
    defalcator, tregetour
    View synonyms


Early 17th century (denoting an itinerant seller of supposed remedies): from French, from Italian ciarlatano, from ciarlare to babble.