mountebank

noun
moun·te·bank | \ˈmau̇n-ti-ˌbaŋk \

Definition of mountebank 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who sells quack medicines from a platform

2 : a boastful unscrupulous pretender : charlatan

mountebank

verb
mountebanked; mountebanking; mountebanks

Definition of mountebank (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

obsolete : to beguile or transform by trickery I'll mountebank their loves— William Shakespeare

intransitive verb

obsolete : to play the mountebank

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Other Words from mountebank

Noun

mountebankery \-ˌbaŋ-k(ə-)rē \ noun

Synonyms for mountebank

Synonyms: Noun

charlatan, fake, faker, fraud, hoaxer, humbug, impostor (or imposter), phony (also phoney), pretender, quack, ringer, sham

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Did You Know?

Noun

Mountebank derives from the Italian montimbanco, which was formed by combining the verb "montare" ("to mount"), the preposition "in" (converted to im, meaning "in" or "on"), and the noun "banco" ("bench"). Put these components together and you can deduce the literal origins of "mountebank" as someone mounted on a bench - the "bench" being the platform on which charlatans from the 16th and 17th centuries would stand to sell their phony medicines. Mountebanks often included various forms of light entertainment on stage in order to attract customers. Later, extended uses of "mountebank" referred to someone who falsely claims to have knowledge about a particular subject or a person who simply pretends to be something he or she is not in order to gain attention.

Examples of mountebank in a Sentence

Noun

a gang of swindlers and mountebanks claimed that many doctors were frauds and mountebanks

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

He was ignored on almost every major issue by the incredible cast of fools and mountebanks with whom the president* has surrounded himself. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "The Rex Tillerson Story Is Full of Holes," 13 Mar. 2018 Laying it off on senior administration officials will no longer fly given the liars, hustlers, incompetents, poseurs and mountebanks who dominate this West Wing. David Zurawik, baltimoresun.com, "Press gives Trump 'fake news' ammo when it predicts things that don't come to pass," 9 Mar. 2018 The Presidency has hardly been free of mountebanks and worse. David Remnick, The New Yorker, "Preserve, Protect, and Defend," 19 Jan. 2017

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

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First Known Use of mountebank

Noun

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

circa 1616, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for mountebank

Noun

Italian montimbanco, from montare to mount + in in, on + banco, banca bench

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Time Traveler for mountebank

The first known use of mountebank was in 1566

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More Definitions for mountebank

mountebank

noun

English Language Learners Definition of mountebank

: a dishonest person : a person who tricks and cheats other people

mountebank

noun
moun·te·bank | \ˈmau̇nt-i-ˌbaŋk \

Medical Definition of mountebank 

: an itinerant hawker of pills and patent medicines especially from a platform : quack bought an unction of a mountebank— Shak.

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