quacksalver

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See also: quack-salver

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

A c. 1660 drawing of a quacksalver (or quack) holding a snake, by G. M. Mitelli of Bologna, Italy, from the collection of the Wellcome Library in London, England, UK

From Dutch quacksalver (a hawker of salve) (now spelt kwakzalver), derived from Middle Dutch quacsalven (noun or verb), from kwaken (to boast, to brag; to croak) + salve (ointment, salve) (modern Dutch zalf) + -er (suffix forming an agent noun).

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Noun[edit]

quacksalver (plural quacksalvers)

  1. (archaic) One falsely claiming to possess medical or other skills, especially one who dispenses potions, ointments, etc., supposedly having curative powers; a quack. [from c. 1570]

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