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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English *quacken, queken (to croak like a frog; make a noise like a duck, goose, or quail), from quack, qwacke, quek, queke (quack, interjection and noun), also kek, keke, whec-, partly of imitative origin and partly from Middle Dutch quacken (to croak, quack), from Old Dutch *kwaken (to croak, quack), from Proto-Germanic *kwakaną, *kwakōną (to croak), of imitative origin.[1] Cognate with Saterland Frisian kwoakje, Middle Low German quaken (to quack, croak), German quaken (to quack, croak), Danish kvække (to croak), Swedish kväka (to croak, quackle), Norwegian kvekke (to croak), Icelandic kvaka (to twitter, chirp).


quack (plural quacks)

  1. The sound made by a duck.
    Did you hear that duck make a quack?


quack (third-person singular simple present quacks, present participle quacking, simple past and past participle quacked)

  1. To make a noise like a duck.
    The more breadcrumbs I threw on the ground, the more they quacked.
    Do you hear the ducks quack?
Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Robert E. Lewis, Middle English dictionary, Volume 8, queke.

Etymology 2[edit]

Wikipedia has an article on:


c 1630, shortening of quacksalver, from Middle Dutch kwaksalver (hawker of salve) (Dutch kwakzalver), from quacken (to brag, boast; to croak)


quack (plural quacks)

  1. A fraudulent healer or incompetent professional, especially a doctor of medicine; an impostor who claims to have qualifications to practice medicine.
    That doctor is nothing but a lousy quack!
    Polly (to security guard, referring to Dr. Feingarten): Are you going to let that shyster in there?
    Dr. Feingarten: I could sue you, Polly. A shyster is a disreputable lawyer. I'm a quack.
    - From the motion picture SOB
    • 1662: Rump: or an Exact Collection of the Choycest Poems and Songs Relating to Late Times, Vol. II, by ‘the most Eminent Wits’
      Tis hard to say, how much these Arse-wormes do urge us, We now need no Quack but these Jacks for to purge us, [...]
    • 1720: William Derham, Physico-theology
      After ſome Months, the Quack gets privately to Town, [...]
    • 1843, Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, book 2, ch. 8, The Electon
      ‘if we are ourselves valets, there shall ‘exist no hero for us; we shall not know the hero when we see him;’ - we shall take the quack for a hero; and cry, audibly through all ballot-boxes and machinery whatsoever, Thou art he; be thou King over us!
  2. A charlatan.
  3. Carlyle
    • Quacks political; quacks scientific, academical.
  4. (slang) A doctor.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


quack (third-person singular simple present quacks, present participle quacking, simple past and past participle quacked)

  1. To practice or commit quackery.
  2. (obsolete) To make vain and loud pretensions; to boast.
    • Hudibras
      To quack of universal cures.


quack (not comparable)

  1. falsely presented as having medicinal powers.
    Don't get your hopes up; that's quack medicine!