Definition of charlatan in English:

Share this entry

charlatan

Pronunciation: /ˈSHärlədən/
/ˈSHärlətn/

noun

A person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill; a fraud.
Example sentences
  • Take the case of the charlatan who claims to transmit thoughts at a distance.
  • I'm either a liar, a cheat, and a charlatan, or I'm crazy, and I have these weird visions that are purely from my imagination.
  • They are all a bunch of charlatans and confidence men.
Synonyms
quack, sham, fraud, fake, impostor, hoaxer, cheat, deceiver, double-dealer, swindler, fraudster, mountebank
informal phony, shark, con man, con artist, scam artist, flimflammer, bunco artist, snake oil salesman
dated confidence man/woman

Derivatives

charlatanism

Pronunciation: /ˈSHärlədəˌnizəm/
/ˈSHärlətnˌizəm/
noun
Example sentences
  • I have been accused of perfidy, malingering, duplicity, charlatanism and forty other words that I don't know the meaning of.
  • His tastes are certainly catholic, taking in performances less open-minded pundits might dismiss as charlatanism.
  • His mixture of naiveté, charlatanism, and singular devotion to a unique vision make him a genuine frontier spirit, a real-life American folk hero for the '80s, and a precious natural resource.

charlatanry

Pronunciation: /ˈSHärlətənrē/ /-lətnrē/
noun
Example sentences
  • Among the charlatanry, however, are authentic Aboriginal art and jewellery as well as every kind of food stall, from traditional Australian meat pies through to fiery bowls of Malaysian laksa.
  • Some of the handiwork of this charlatanry is now manifest to everyone.
  • Their patronising, cliquish self-regard has repeatedly been exposed as charlatanry.

Origin

Early 17th century (denoting an itinerant seller of supposed remedies): from French, from Italian ciarlatano, from ciarlare 'to babble'.

More
  • This word first appeared in English, in the early 17th century, as a term for a fast-talking seller of quack remedies. It comes via French from Italian ciarlatano, from the verb ciarlare ‘to babble’.

Share this entry
 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.