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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
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
Paul, speaking to reporters, seemed unfazed by Oz’s determination to supplant him as the Senate’s top quack. Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker, 1 Dec. 2021 Special thanks today to Martin Bencsik of Nottingham Trent University and James Nieh at the University of California, San Diego, for providing excellent examples of honeybee toots and quacks and woops. Sophie Bushwick, Scientific American, 17 Mar. 2023 Ale’s just been fired from FreezeCorp, a quack company that sells people the promise of putting them in cryogenic sleep until future scientists develop the technology to revive them, and Swinton’s Elizabeth might be willing to extend his visa. Peter Debruge, Variety, 14 Mar. 2023 Unlocking the key to exposing that falsehood could help Gorski debunk a thousand quacks in one fell swoop. Matthew Hongoltz-hetling, The New Republic, 28 Feb. 2023 The race between the very tall Fetterman and the television doctor Mehmet Oz had its moments of gravity, but, for much of the summer, it was defined by a one-sided meme war from Fetterman’s team against Oz, painting him as an out-of-touch quack from New Jersey. Ian Crouch, The New Yorker, 25 Nov. 2022 At the quack of dawn! Cameron Jenkins, Good Housekeeping, 1 Nov. 2022 Is college football now this out of quack? Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 3 Sep. 2022 Coming on the tail end of President Trump’s administration, the lawsuits against Facebook announced Wednesday by the Federal Trade Commission and 46 states and districts might seem like the last angry quack of a lame duck who’s harbored a long-running grievance against social media executives. Brian Contreras, Los Angeles Times, 10 Dec. 2020
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 Gorski persists in his quack-bashing passion, now buttressing his blog posts with a relentless stream of sharp-elbowed tweets. Matthew Hongoltz-hetling, The New Republic, 28 Feb. 2023 See More

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 4 Jun. 2023.

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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