[ moun-tuh-bangk ]
/ ˈmaʊn təˌbæŋk /


a person who sells quack medicines, as from a platform in public places, attracting and influencing an audience by tricks, storytelling, etc.
any charlatan or quack.

verb (used without object)

to act or operate as a mountebank.


Nearby words

  1. mountainous,
  2. mountainside,
  3. mountaintop,
  4. mountainy,
  5. mountbatten,
  6. mounted,
  7. mounter,
  8. mountie,
  9. mounting,
  10. mounting-block

Origin of mountebank

1570–80; (< Middle French) < Italian montimbanco one who climbs on a bench, equivalent to mont(are) to climb (see mount1) + -im-, variant of in on + banco bench (see bank2)

Related formsmoun·te·bank·er·y [moun-tuh-bangk-uh-ree] /ˈmaʊn təˌbæŋk ə ri/, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mountebank

British Dictionary definitions for mountebank


/ (ˈmaʊntɪˌbæŋk) /


(formerly) a person who sold quack medicines in public places
a charlatan; fake


(intr) to play the mountebank
Derived Formsmountebankery, noun

Word Origin for mountebank

C16: from Italian montambanco a climber on a bench, from montare to mount ² + banco bench (see also bank 1)

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

Word Origin and History for mountebank



"a doctor that mounts a bench in the market, and boasts his infallible remedies and cures" [Johnson], 1570s, from Italian montambanco, contraction of monta in banco "quack, juggler," literally "mount on bench" (to be seen by crowd), from monta, imperative of montare "to mount" (see mount (v.)) + banco, variant of banca "bench" (see bank (n.2)). Figurative and extended senses from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper