mountebank was our Word of the Day on 11/16/2011. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of mountebank in a Sentence
a gang of swindlers and mountebanks
claimed that many doctors were frauds and mountebanks
Recent Examples of mountebank from the Web
The Presidency has hardly been free of mountebanks and worse.
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.
Did You Know?
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.
Origin and Etymology of mountebank
Italian montimbanco, from montare to mount + in in, on + banco, banca bench
First Known Use: 1566See Words from the same year
Definition of mountebank
obsolete : to beguile or transform by trickery I'll mountebank their loves — William Shakespeare
obsolete : to play the mountebank
First Known Use of mountebank
MOUNTEBANK Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of mountebank for English Language Learners
: a dishonest person : a person who tricks and cheats other people
Seen and Heard
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