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mountebank

[moun-tuh-bangk] /ˈmaʊn təˌbæŋk/
noun
1.
a person who sells quack medicines, as from a platform in public places, attracting and influencing an audience by tricks, storytelling, etc.
2.
any charlatan or quack.
verb (used without object)
3.
to act or operate as a mountebank.
Origin
1570-1580
1570-80; (< Middle French) < Italian montimbanco one who climbs on a bench, equivalent to mont(are) to climb (see mount1) + -im-, variant of in on + banco bench (see bank2)
Related forms
mountebankery
[moun-tuh-bangk-uh-ree] /ˈmaʊn təˌbæŋk ə ri/ (Show IPA),
noun
Synonyms
1. pitchman. 2. phony, pretender, fraud.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for mountebank
  • Repeated hits earn a dealer a reputation for being a magus or a mountebank, depending on who's talking.
  • Dirksen's oratory became, in the end, something of a mountebank performance.
British Dictionary definitions for mountebank

mountebank

/ˈmaʊntɪˌbæŋk/
noun
1.
(formerly) a person who sold quack medicines in public places
2.
a charlatan; fake
verb
3.
(intransitive) to play the mountebank
Derived Forms
mountebankery, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Italian montambanco a climber on a bench, from montare to mount² + bancobench (see also bank1)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mountebank
n.

"a doctor that mounts a bench in the market, and boasts his infallible remedies and cures" [Johnson], 1570s, from Italian montambanco, contraction of monta in banco "quack, juggler," literally "mount on bench" (to be seen by crowd), from monta, imperative of montare "to mount" (see mount (v.)) + banco, variant of banca "bench" (see bank (n.2)). Figurative and extended senses from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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