Definition of charlatan in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈSHärlədən/
Pronunciation: /ˈSHärlətn/


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.
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



Pronunciation: /ˈSHärlədəˌnizəm/
Pronunciation: /ˈSHärlətnˌizəm/
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.


Pronunciation: /ˈSHärlətənrē/ Pronunciation: /-lətnrē/
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.


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

  • 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’.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: char·la·tan

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