from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A mountebank; a quack.

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

  • noun obsolete A mountebank; a quack.

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

  • noun a quack doctor, a fraud.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Italian saltimbanco. Used thus in English because of the association with street performers, seen by the settled population in English-speaking culture as not to be trusted. A more usual and more accurate English word, derived from similar sources, is mountebank.


  • ‘Becco’, and ‘cornuto’, ‘fantastico’, ‘magnifico’, ‘impress’ (the armorial device upon shields, and appearing constantly in its Italian form ‘impresa’), ‘saltimbanco’ (= mountebank), all once common enough, are now obsolete.

    English Past and Present

  • He was not the only player to do that, of course, nor even the only player in the Italy team, obviously, but he was by far the most irritating offender, primarily because even after the referee made his decisions, the gawkish saltimbanco harangued his supposed aggressor with all the righteous indignation of a nun in a knocking shop.

    The Guardian World News


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  • A calque, it would seem of mountebank (or vice versa): a benchjumper, a quack.

    December 5, 2007