charlatan

play
noun char·la·tan \ˈshär-lə-tən\

Definition of charlatan

  1. 1 :  quack 2

  2. 2 :  one making usually showy pretenses to knowledge or ability :  fraud, faker

charlatanism

play \-tə-ˌni-zəm\ noun

charlatanry

play \-rē\ noun

Examples of charlatan in a sentence

  1. <the famed faith healer turned out to be a charlatan>

Did You Know?

In medieval times, people claiming medical skills they did not have roamed throughout Italy, selling "medicine" that was often completely without worth. Many of these pretenders reputedly came from a village called Cerreto, and as a result, cerretano (meaning "inhabitant of Cerreto") became an epithet for a quack physician. In addition, these frauds used a practiced patter to attract customers, rather like the chatter of a circus barker. The Italian word for "chatter" is ciarlare, and chattering was so associated with the cerretano that the spelling of the word shifted to ciarlatano. By the early 17th century, we had anglicized the Italian word to charlatan and adopted it as our own.

Origin and Etymology of charlatan

Italian ciarlatano, alteration of cerretano, literally, inhabitant of Cerreto, from Cerreto, Italy


First Known Use: 1618


CHARLATAN Defined for English Language Learners

charlatan

play
noun char·la·tan \ˈshär-lə-tən\

Definition of charlatan for English Language Learners

  • : a person who falsely pretends to know or be something in order to deceive people


CHARLATAN Defined for Kids

charlatan

play
noun char·la·tan \ˈshär-lə-tən\

Definition of charlatan for Students

  1. :  a person who falsely pretends to know or be something <The charlatan sold useless medicinal potions.>


Medical Dictionary

charlatan

play
noun char·la·tan \ˈshär-lət-ən\

Medical Definition of charlatan

  1. :  quack



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