mountebank

noun
moun·​te·​bank | \ ˈmau̇n-ti-ˌbaŋk How to pronounce mountebank (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from mountebank

Noun

mountebankery \ ˈmau̇n-​ti-​ˌbaŋ-​k(ə-​)rē How to pronounce mountebank (audio) \ noun

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 Or does the word seem a little shifty, denoting a modern-day mountebank (another great word), bent on self-promotion, unscrupulous precisely because no special degree is required? Will Jeakle, Forbes, 29 June 2021 American politicians, the pusillanimous and the mountebanks and even their opposites, used to be as highfalutin as Foghorn Leghorn with their gibes, which made politics fun for fans of Shakespeare, the Bible or obscure history. oregonlive, 31 Mar. 2020 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, 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, 9 Mar. 2018 The Presidency has hardly been free of mountebanks and worse. David Remnick, The New Yorker, 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About mountebank

Time Traveler for mountebank

Time Traveler

The first known use of mountebank was in 1566

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About mountebank

Dictionary Entries Near mountebank

Mount Desert Island

mountebank

Mounted Cornet

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for mountebank

Cite this Entry

“Mountebank.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mountebank. Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce mountebank (audio) \

Medical Definition of mountebank

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!