Word of the Day


charlatan \SHAHR-luh-tun\
noun1 : a pretender to medical skill : quack 2 : one making usually showy pretenses to knowledge or ability : fraud, faker
Examples:
Even though the psychic seemed to know a lot of information about Irving’s life, Irving was still convinced that the guy was a charlatan who made some lucky guesses.

“I’ve been reading the tabloids for 40 years! … And I’ve been fascinated by charlatans and fakers and sociopaths for as long as I’ve been alive.” — Jean Hanff Korelitz, quoted in Newsday (New York), April 6, 2014
Did you know?
In medieval times, people claiming medical skills they did not have roamed throughout Italy, selling “medicine” that was often completely without worth. Many of these pretenders reputedly came from a village called Cerreto, and as a result, “cerretano” (meaning “inhabitant of Cerreto”) became an epithet for a quack physician. In addition, these frauds used a practiced patter to attract customers, rather like the chatter of a circus barker. The Italian word for “chatter” is “ciarlare,” and chattering was so associated with the “cerretano” that the spelling of the word shifted to “ciarlatano.” By the early 17th century, we had anglicized the Italian word to “charlatan” and adopted it as our own.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s