Snake-oil Definition

noun
A worthless preparation fraudulently peddled as a cure for many ills.
American Heritage
A liquid substance with no real medicinal value sold as a cure-all or nostrum, esp. in a medicine show.
Webster's New World
Speech or writing intended to deceive; humbug.
American Heritage

A traditional Chinese medicine used to treat joint pain.

Wiktionary

A type of 19th century patent medicine sold in the United States that claimed to contain snake fat, supposedly a Native American remedy for various ailments.

Wiktionary
Synonyms:
humbug
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