charlatan

noun
char·​la·​tan | \ ˈshär-lə-tən How to pronounce charlatan (audio) \

Definition of charlatan

1 : quack entry 4 sense 2 charlatans harming their patients with dubious procedures
2 : one making usually showy pretenses to knowledge or ability : fraud, faker a charlatan willing to do and say virtually anything to remain in the spotlight— Alan Brinkley

Other Words from charlatan

charlatanism \ ˈshär-​lə-​tə-​ˌni-​zəm How to pronounce charlatan (audio) \ noun
charlatanry \ ˈshär-​lə-​tən-​rē How to pronounce charlatan (audio) \ noun

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.

Examples of charlatan in a Sentence

the famed faith healer turned out to be a charlatan
Recent Examples on the Web Meanwhile, her family contends with their charlatan of a relative, the new Lord Featherington (Rupert Young), who seeks to con the ton out of their wealth. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 25 Mar. 2022 Bostic's rebuttal echoed many of the themes touched upon in Thursday's arguments, when fellow prosecutor Jeffrey Schenk cast Holmes as a charlatan who brazenly lied to become rich and famous. Michael Liedtke, ajc, 18 Dec. 2021 The charlatan Tour members involved in this scheme — Mickelson and Norman chief among them — have never been more isolated from their peers, never more exposed in their heartless opportunism, and never more lacking in public support. Eamon Lynch, The Arizona Republic, 22 Feb. 2022 When the story later takes Stan, a charming charlatan, into the high society of the city of Buffalo, Art Deco becomes the dominant architectural style of Deverell’s sets. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, 26 Jan. 2022 Marking Bahran’s documentary feature debut, 2nd Chance finds some quirky amusement in Davis’ story, but its focus is much more on the poignancy of his embellished rise-and-fall journey, one that could leave him painted as a hero or as a charlatan. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Jan. 2022 Bostic's rebuttal echoed many of the themes touched upon in Thursday's arguments, when fellow prosecutor Jeffrey Schenk cast Holmes as a charlatan who brazenly lied to become rich and famous. Michael Liedtke, ajc, 18 Dec. 2021 Bostic's rebuttal echoed many of the themes touched upon in Thursday's arguments, when fellow prosecutor Jeffrey Schenk cast Holmes as a charlatan who brazenly lied to become rich and famous. Michael Liedtke, ajc, 18 Dec. 2021 Federal prosecutors spent much of the trial providing testimony and evidence to depict Holmes as a charlatan obsessed with fame and fortune. Michael Liedtke, chicagotribune.com, 4 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'charlatan.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of charlatan

1618, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for charlatan

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

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The first known use of charlatan was in 1618

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Last Updated

26 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Charlatan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/charlatan. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for charlatan

charlatan

noun
char·​la·​tan | \ ˈshär-lə-tən How to pronounce charlatan (audio) \

Kids Definition of charlatan

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

charlatan

noun
char·​la·​tan | \ ˈshär-lət-ən How to pronounce charlatan (audio) \

Medical Definition of charlatan

: quack

More from Merriam-Webster on charlatan

Nglish: Translation of charlatan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of charlatan for Arabic Speakers

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