Saturday, August 26, 2006

Word of the Day: Mountebank

Ran across the word Mountebank in a New Yorker profile of Ricky Jay. I was chagrined by my inability to come up with a better definition than "highwayman" or "nomadic soldier." Not really. But vaguely reminiscent of the word's meaning.

The actual definition of Mountebank is, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Current English: 1) a swindler or charlatan. 2) [my favorite] "itinerant quack." The word is from the Italian for 'mount on bench.'


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