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A quack doctor, or medicaster, hawking remedies on the streets of London, an engraving by Edward Linley Sambourne from Punch (11 November 1893)

From French médicastre or Italian medicastro, from Late Latin medicaster, from Latin medicus (a doctor, a physician; a surgeon) + -aster (suffix forming nouns expressing incomplete resemblance, which are thus usually pejorative).



medicaster (plural medicasters)

  1. (dated, now chiefly literary) A quack doctor; someone who pretends to have medical knowledge.
    • 1751, Giovanni Bianchi, A Dissertation against Blisters, Delivered in a Speech, before the Lyncean Academy at Rimino, in June 1746, London: Printed by M. Cooper, at the Globe in Paternoster-Row, M. Sheepy, under the Royal Exchange Cornhill; and J. Swan, opposite to Northumberland-House by Charing-Cross, OCLC 915390042, page 40:
      But these innovating Medicaſters have introduced a Practice not only very precarious, but in many Reſpects extremely dangerous, and quite devoid of any one of the Qualities which conſtitute a good Remedy, viz. to cure the Patient, as the Axiom has it, cito, tuto, & jucunde, i.e. ſpeedily, ſafely, and pleaſantly.