- Historical a person who mounted a bench, or platform, in a public place and sold quack medicines, usually attracting an audience by tricks, stories, etc.
- any charlatan, or quack
Origin of mountebankItalian montambanco ; from montare, mount + in, on + banco, a bench: see bank
to act as a mountebank
- A hawker of quack medicines who attracts customers with stories, jokes, or tricks.
- A flamboyant charlatan.
Origin of mountebankItalian montambanco, from the phrase monta im banco, one gets up onto the bench : monta, one gets up, third person sing. present tense of montare, to get up (from Vulgar Latin *montare; see mount1) + in, on, onto (from Latin; see in–2) + banco, bench (variant of banca, from Old Italian, bench, table, from Old High German bank).
(third-person singular simple present mountebanks, present participle mountebanking, simple past and past participle mountebanked)
- (intransitive) To act as a mountebank.
- To cheat by boasting and false pretenses.
- Chide me no more. I'll mountebank their loves,Cog their hearts from them, and come home beloved - Coriolanus, Wm. Shakespeare