Definition of mountebank in English:
- He has been described as a ‘a mountebank, a charlatan and a scribbler’ by one author, although others see him as a proto-social scientist.
- He was, in fact, a charlatan, a mountebank, a zany without any shame or dignity.
- Epithets of ‘statesman’ were thrown around, but charlatan or mountebank might have been more appropriate.
- Additional evidence indicates that it was a term used among medical mountebanks in Tudor times.
- The word toady comes from ‘toad-eater’: a quack's or mountebank's assistant who would eat, or pretend to eat, a toad so he could be cured by the medicine man.
- There had always been mountebanks and charlatans operating in the public squares, but they now dominated the marketplace.
- Example sentences
- So some two decades later he set out to transform the securities industry with a report that he hoped would expose its mountebankery and lead to a miraculous transformation.
- There was one explanation as to why he was able to pass off mountebankery as art for so long; the myth of impressionism.
- This is not a business where mountebankery is to be encouraged.
Late 16th century: 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).
bank from Middle English:
The very different uses of bank are all ultimately related. The bank beside a river was adopted from a Scandinavian word in the early Middle Ages, and is related to bench (Old English). The earliest use of the bank for a financial institution referred to a money-dealer's counter or table. This came from French or Italian in the late 15th century, but goes back to the same root as the river bank. A bank of oars or of lights represents yet another related form. It came into English in the early Middle Ages from French, and originally meant a bench or a platform to speak from. The bench or platform sense is also found in mountebank (late 16th century) for a charlatan, which comes from Italian monta in banco ‘climb on the bench’ referring to the way they attract a crowd, while a bankrupt (mid 16th century), originally a bankrout takes us back to the ‘counter’ sense. It is from Italian banca rotta, which really means ‘a broken bench’, referring to the breaking up of the traders business at the counter. The word was altered early on in its history in English, through association with Latin ruptus ‘broken’. Yet another word from the same source is banquet (Late Middle English) which comes from the French for ‘little bench’ and was originally a snack rather than a lavish meal.
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