[ shahr-luh-tn ]
/ ˈʃɑr lə tn /


a person who pretends or claims to have more knowledge or skill than he or she possesses; quack.

Origin of charlatan

1595–1605; < Middle French < Italian ciarlatano, equivalent to ciarla(tore) chatterer (derivative of ciarlare to chatter; from imitative root) + (cerre)tano hawker, quack, literally, native of Cerreto, a village in Umbria, known for its quacks

Related forms

char·la·tan·ic [shahr-luh-tan-ik] /ˌʃɑr ləˈtæn ɪk/, char·la·tan·i·cal, char·la·tan·ish, char·la·tan·is·tic, adjectivechar·la·tan·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for charlatan

British Dictionary definitions for charlatan


/ (ˈʃɑːlətən) /


someone who professes knowledge or expertise, esp in medicine, that he or she does not have; quack

Derived Forms

charlatanism or charlatanry, nouncharlatanistic, adjective

Word Origin for charlatan

C17: from French, from Italian ciarlatano, from ciarlare to chatter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medicine definitions for charlatan


[ shärlə-tən ]


A person fraudulently claiming knowledge and skills not possessed.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.