A mountebank has a talent for tricking people into buying things, like the mountebank who charms women into buying "magic beauty pills" for hundreds of dollars, though they are just ordinary vitamins you can buy anywhere.

Mountebank, pronounced "MOUN-tih-bank," has an interesting origin, in the Italian phrase "monta in banco." It describes a "doctor" who would "mount a bench" in the marketplace. Standing a bit higher than the crowd enabled people to hear his sales pitch and see the potions and powders he claimed were medical cures that never failed — claims as bogus as his credentials. A mountebank is a fast-talking crook pretending to be an expert.

Definitions of mountebank

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

craniologist, phrenologist
someone who claims to be able to read your character from the shape of your skull
an untrained person who pretends to be a physician and who dispenses medical advice
Type of:
beguiler, cheat, cheater, deceiver, slicker, trickster
someone who leads you to believe something that is not true

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.