1 of 5

verb (1)

quacked; quacking; quacks

intransitive verb

: to make the characteristic cry of a duck


2 of 5

noun (1)

: a noise made by quacking


3 of 5

verb (2)

quacked; quacking; quacks

intransitive verb

: to act like a quack


4 of 5

noun (2)

: charlatan sense 2
Religious quacks on radio and television thinking up new ways to take money from ignorant listeners and incidentally from legitimate churches.Andrew A. Rooney
: an ignorant, misinformed, or dishonest practitioner of medicine
No doubt these misunderstandings and dashed hopes have driven many cancer patients and their families into the arms of quacks.Haydn Bush
quackish adjective


5 of 5


: of, relating to, or used by quacks
quack cancer cures

Examples of quack in a Sentence

Noun (2) don't bother to see that guy, as I've heard he's a quack with no actual training
Recent Examples on the Web
West led the deuce of clubs, which looked, waddled and quacked like a singleton; still, declarer took the queen, drew trumps and led another club. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, 1 Apr. 2024 The drake has a faint whistle and can quack quietly. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, 15 Feb. 2024 This is another quacking canard from the Simpson duck pond. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 24 Nov. 2023 Over the past 234 years, hundreds of animals have barked, purred, squawked, squeaked, neighed, cackled, quacked, hooted, mooed, or growled their way through most of the 46 U.S. presidencies. Nick Thomas, Hartford Courant, 20 Feb. 2023 Hypnotherapy is not like stage hypnosis — those performances where someone is put in a trance and ordered to quack like a duck. Elizabeth Chang, Washington Post, 4 Oct. 2022 The ducks live to quack another day. Zoe Haylock, Vulture, 2 Aug. 2021
Many in the life-extension movement are quacks or hacks who peddle pills, potions, and false promises; longevity skeptics tend to see the loss of our capacities as something to accept, not avoid. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, 15 Apr. 2024 To its credit, the IPCC has elevated the debate and increased the credibility of climate science, minimizing the impact of climate quacks. Ken Silverstein, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 In the 1920s, a quack named John Brinkley became a household name by implanting goat testicles into the bodies of patients complaining of infertility and impotence. David Klepper, Fortune Well, 31 Jan. 2024 Michael Hiltzik: Meet the most dangerous quack in America. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 10 Jan. 2024 But in Florida, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ quack surgeon general, is doing precisely that. Sun Sentinel Editorial Board, Sun Sentinel, 10 Jan. 2024 The hens of many dabbling species make shrill quacks, while drakes make softer peeps and whistles. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, 8 Nov. 2023 Remember that the first guy to recommend hand washing between surgeries was considered a quack in his day, and look at how that turned out. Elizabeth Wickman, WSJ, 20 Nov. 2023 Canvasbacks aren’t especially boisterous ducks, with the drakes making a low, rolling growl, sometimes described as a croak, and the hens a softer mallard-like quack. M.d. Johnson, Field & Stream, 8 Nov. 2023
This is where quack pseudoscience meets quasi-religious beliefs about how our bodies work, and suspicion of any chemical substance (whether in vaccines, pills, or lotions) is addressed by the pre-modern wisdom of the ages. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 4 July 2023 After presiding over the infection of more than 14 million people with Covid-19, betting on the wrong vaccine, promoting quack cures and suing states in a futile attempt to prevent lockdowns, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is facing the inevitable political consequences. Stephen Collinson and Caitlin Hu, CNN, 29 Apr. 2021 Junk shops are portals to mythological realms, and religious visions emerge from quack medicine ads. Robert Rubsam, Washington Post, 2 May 2023 As the pandemic wore on, Trump publicly suggest quack cures -- rather than sound medical advice -- for the virus. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 9 Dec. 2021 Educating the millions of people in this region on the facts of this massive outbreak and its transmission has been difficult, stymied by widespread suspicion of government officials and health workers, not to mention the perpetual rumors of quack cures. Rebecca Kreston, Discover Magazine, 14 Sep. 2014 Cure-all claims are one of the foremost signs of quack medicines. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Jan. 2023 This is not to say that public health should be held hostage to conspiracy theories or sheer mendacity, as was sometimes the case in the first year of the pandemic, when President Donald Trump was promoting quack cures and stubbornly resisting masking. Richard J. Tofel, The Atlantic, 10 Feb. 2022 Republicans, for their part, having been fed a steady diet of quack cures, pseudoscience, and misinformation by the White House, have been primed to disbelieve much of the science associated with the pandemic—and many of the scientists who have been working to put an end to it. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, 19 Dec. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'quack.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb (1)

alteration of queck to quack, from Middle English queken, from queke, interjection, of imitative origin

Noun (2) and Verb (2)

short for quacksalver

First Known Use

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (1)

1798, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1628, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1653, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of quack was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near quack

Cite this Entry

“Quack.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quack. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 4 noun
: the cry of a duck
also : a sound resembling this cry


2 of 4 verb
: to make a quack


3 of 4 noun
: a person who makes false claims to special knowledge or ability
especially : one who pretends to have medical skill


4 of 4 adjective
: of, relating to, or used by a person who is a quack
quack medicines


a word created to imitate the sound made by a duck


a shortened form of earlier quacksalver "a person who pretends to have medical skill"; of Dutch origin

Medical Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a pretender to medical skill : an ignorant or dishonest practitioner
quackish adjective


2 of 2 adjective
: of, relating to, characteristic of, or being a quack
scores of quack remedies for arthritisJane E. Brody

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