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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, kwaakje ‎(to quack), 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. (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!