medicine show


: a traveling show using entertainers to attract a crowd among which remedies or nostrums are sold

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web In the classic format of the old-time medicine show, a snake-oil salesman traveled from town to town with various entertainers in tow. James Sullivan,, 10 Oct. 2022 At the time, her parents owned and ran a traveling medicine show in Texas. New York Times, 29 Oct. 2021 Dennison, who grew up performing in her parents' traveling medicine show, was born in an Arizona men's prison in 1923, according to The New York Times. Maria Pasquini,, 1 Nov. 2021 Jo-Carroll Dennison spent a rootless childhood in a traveling medicine show in the 1920s and ’30s with little money or formal education. New York Times, 29 Oct. 2021 The struggles of trans children in the era before modern transgender medicine show not just how trans youths are far from a new phenomenon, but also how tenacious and forward-thinking they were compared with their parents and doctors. Jules Gill-peterson, The Conversation, 1 June 2021 There also will be live entertainment through the course of the festival ranging from music and dancing to storytelling and a traditional-style medicine show, with a ceremonial cannon firing to end both days. Austen Erblat,, 16 Oct. 2019 The Rolling Thunder Revue was conceived as an anti-corporate return to the days of travelling tricksters, medicine shows, and carnivals. David Remnick, The New Yorker, 10 June 2019 The festival’s other family-friendly attractions include a petting zoo, hands-on snake exhibit, archery, a medicine show wagon and camel rides. Allison Bagley, Houston Chronicle, 11 Apr. 2018 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1887, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of medicine show was in 1887

Dictionary Entries Near medicine show

Cite this Entry

“Medicine show.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

medicine show


: a traveling show using entertainers to attract a crowd that may buy cures, remedies, and medicines whose benefits are often much exaggerated
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