a person who sells quack medicines, as from a platform in public places, attracting and influencing an audience by tricks, storytelling, etc.
any charlatan or quack.
verb (used without object)
to act or operate as a mountebank.

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)

mountebankery [moun-tuh-bangk-uh-ree] , noun

1. pitchman. 2. phony, pretender, fraud. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
mountebank (ˈmaʊntɪˌbæŋk)
1.  (formerly) a person who sold quack medicines in public places
2.  a charlatan; fake
3.  (intr) to play the mountebank
[C16: from Italian montambanco a climber on a bench, from montare to mount² + bancobench (see also bank1)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"a doctor that mounts a bench in the market, and boasts his infallible remedies and cures" [Johnson], 1577, from It. montambanco, contraction of monta in banco "quack, juggler," lit. "mount on bench" (to be seen by crowd), from monta, imperative of montare "to mount" + banco, var. of banca "bench."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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