One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A person who deceives others, especially in order to trick them out of their money; a charlatan.
swindler, charlatan, confidence trickster, confidence man, fraud, fraudster, impostor, trickster, racketeer, hoaxer, sharper, quack, rogue, villain, scoundrelView synonyms
- ‘He has been described as a ‘a mountebank, a charlatan and a scribbler’ by one author, although others see him as a proto-social scientist.’
- ‘It was otherwise an unremarkable fair: too much food, dancing, theft, mountebanks, young men and women sneaking off together, people in witlessly fashionable clothing.’
- ‘Style and elegance are no longer twin fortes of virus-writing mountebanks.’
- ‘All along, he was an audacious mountebank and a mendacious bully, who knew almost nothing about actual existing communism and who never identified a single Soviet agent.’
- ‘Is this not the age of the mountebank, of the spin-doctor and his big lies?’
- ‘It has become the profession of public office seekers, title hunters, social pushers, dollar diddlers, mountebanks and cads.’
- ‘He is not yet regarded as the mountebank he really is.’
- ‘They're nothing but a pack of social scientists, marketers, and mountebanks who don't even look at the game but analyze the arena for logo penetration and recognition.’
- ‘And you, editors of my beloved Book Review, without which no weekend would be complete, should be ashamed, deeply so, for giving this mountebank such unwarranted attention.’
- ‘Epithets of ‘statesman’ were thrown around, but charlatan or mountebank might have been more appropriate.’
- ‘The artistic milieu of late-nineteenth century France is the world in which he moves, surrounded by artists, aristocrats, mountebanks and tarts.’
- ‘Yes, for a long time I have been agitating for the licensing of ‘psychics’ and other such mountebanks.’
- ‘He was, in fact, a charlatan, a mountebank, a zany without any shame or dignity.’
- ‘In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the ‘learned physicians’ who were taught Galenic humoral medicine in the universities labelled such doctors quacks, empirics, and mountebanks.’
- ‘You get back idiotic form letters from these mountebanks telling you they ‘care’ and ‘are investigating.’’
- ‘What could that mountebank of a preacher have said to turn his mind so?’
- ‘He is a mountebank and a racist.’
- ‘Mountebanks like him can suck them dry of their last earnings by promising them a little nest in the heavens.’
- 1.1historical A person who sold patent medicines in public places.
- ‘There had always been mountebanks and charlatans operating in the public squares, but they now dominated the marketplace.’
- ‘The word toady comes from ‘toad-eater’: a quack's or mountebank's assistant who would eat, or pretend to eat, a toad so he could be cured by the medicine man.’
- ‘A lifestyle guru is a modern sort of mountebank, selling quack advice instead of false medicines.’
- ‘Additional evidence indicates that it was a term used among medical mountebanks in Tudor times.’
- ‘Whitman, so deeply sensuous that his poetry has the emotive compulsion of the fairground mountebank, was famous enough to be used in advertisements.’
Late 16th century: from Italian montambanco, from the imperative phrase monta in banco! ‘climb on the bench!’ (with allusion to the raised platform used to attract an audience).
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