Trend Watch

Charlatan

When:

Lookups spiked on February 25, 2011.

Why:

The actor Charlie Sheen called a radio show and offered his strong opinions on various subjects, including the creator and writer of "Two and a Half Men":

"And this charlatan chose not to do his job, which is to write."

A charlatan is a fraud or a faker. The word comes from Italian, where it means "a person who prattles or chatters" – a person whose words should not be believed.

(Charlatan was originally the name for a person from the village of Cerreto, Italy, but we're not sure how those villagers got a reputation for being untrustworthy.)

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
April 27, 2015
savvy Hear it
to understand
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears