mountebank

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moun·te·bank / ˈmountiˌbangk/ • n. a person who deceives others, esp. in order to trick them out of their money; a charlatan. ∎ hist. a person who sold patent medicines in public places. DERIVATIVES: moun·te·bank·er·y / -ˌbangkərē/ n.

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mountebank a person who deceives others, especially in order to trick them out of their money; a charlatan; a person who sold patent medicines in public places.

Recorded from the late 16th century, the word comes from Italian montambanco, from the imperative phrase monta in banco! ‘climb on the bench!’, with allusion to the raised platform used to attract an audience.

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mountebank itinerant quack, juggler, etc., appearing on a platform; charlatan. XVI. — It. montambanco, montimbanco, for monta in banco ‘mount (imper.) on bench’.

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