from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A person who makes elaborate, fraudulent, and often voluble claims to skill or knowledge; a quack or fraud.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who pretends to knowledge, skill, importance, etc., which he does not possess; a pretender; a quack, mountebank, or empiric.
  • noun Synonyms Impostor, cheat, pretender; Mountebank, etc. (see quack).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who prates much in his own favor, and makes unwarrantable pretensions; a quack; an impostor; an empiric; a mountebank.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A malicious trickster; a fake person, especially one who deceives for personal profit.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a flamboyant deceiver; one who attracts customers with tricks or jokes


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, from Italian ciarlatano, probably alteration (influenced by ciarlare, to prattle) of cerretano, inhabitant of Cerreto, a city of Italy once famous for its quacks.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French charlatan, from Italian ciarlatano ("quack"), a blend of ciarlatore ("a chatterer") and cerretano ("a hawker, quack"), literally, a native of Cerreto, a village in Umbria, known for its quacks.



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  • Aware of religious charlatans who “peddled” God’s Word for their own desires, the apostle Paul wrote, “We are not, as so many, peddling the Word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God” 2 Corinthians 2:17. ODB Mar-25, 2011.

    March 26, 2011