snake oil

noun

1
: any of various substances or mixtures sold (as by a traveling medicine show) as medicine usually without regard to their medical worth or properties
2

Examples of snake oil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Shallow people focus instead on style, and on the glib talk of the snake oil salesman. Sun Sentinel Editorial Board, Sun Sentinel, 8 July 2024 Per Maximus, who just arrived with Lucy, the snake-oil salesman’s snake oil has turned Thaddeus into a ghoul. Jack King, Vulture, 11 Apr. 2024 If the 5th Circuit’s decision is allowed to stand, the FDA’s role as bulwark against snake oil will be grievously undermined. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar. 2024 One fueled by hype, speculation and a dash of digital snake oil. Larry Light, Forbes, 11 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for snake oil 

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

Word History

First Known Use

1917, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of snake oil was in 1917

Dictionary Entries Near snake oil

Cite this Entry

“Snake oil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/snake%20oil. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition

snake oil

noun
: any of various substances or mixtures sold (as by a traveling medicine show) as medicine usually without having had the claims of their medical worth or properties substantiated by scientific tests
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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