karmic_serenity (karmic_serenity) wrote in 1word1day,

mountebank \MOUN-tuh-bank\, noun:

1. A peddler of quack medicine, who stands on a platform to appeal to the audience.

2. A charlatan; a boastful pretender to knowledge or a skill.


Mountebank comes from the Italian montambanco, montimbanco, from the phrase monta in banco, literally "mounts on bench" (i.e. "gets up on a bench").

To his critics including some of the other topnotchers in the school of Paris, he is a talented mountebank and irrepressible showman who has lured his followers and the world up a blind artistic and intellectual alley.

-- "Captain Picasso's Voyages", Time, June 26, 1950

Tags: italian, m, noun

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