Trending: quacksalver

Lookups spiked 38,000% on April 26, 2020

Why are people looking up quacksalver?

Quacksalver was among our top lookups on Sunday, April 26th, following coverage on CBS of the history of deceptive medical practitioners.

The term 'Quack' originates from the word quacksalver, a middle Dutch word that means somebody who boasts or brags about themselves, said Dr. Lydia Kang, co-author of a book on the long history of quackery: "So, it's somebody on the street corner that's hawking their wares.”
CBS News (, 26 Apr. 2020

What does quacksalver mean?

We define quacksalver “an ignorant, misinformed, or dishonest practitioner of medicine; a charlatan.” The word has been in use in English since the late 16th century.


In a Brauerie: because he which seeketh to win glory by other mens vices, is no more to bee regarded, then a common quacksaluer, which trudgeth from Citie to citie, with a box full of drugs, to proclame in the market what sores, or what sicknesse, he is able to cure, and by this dauncing inde of gesture with the proude Pharisee iustifie himselfe to his owne shame.
— Stephen Gosson, The ephemerides of Phialo, 1579

Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.

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