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04 March 2013 @ 10:55 pm
Word of the Day - Quacksalver  
For several fine gentlemen of my acquaintance.

quacksalver
, n.
‘A person who dishonestly claims knowledge of or skill in medicine; a pedlar of false cures; = quack n.2 1.’
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌkwakˈsalvə/, U.S. /ˌkwækˈsælvər/
Forms:  15 quackesalver,   15–16 quackesaluer,   15–16 quacksaluer,   16 quagsaluer,   16 quaksaluer,   16 quaksalver,   16– quacksalver.
Etymology: < early modern Dutch quacksalver person who cures with home remedies (1543; Dutch kwakzalver), further etymology uncertain: perhaps either < kwak scrap, remainder, rubbish (although this is first attested later: 1599 in Kiliaan as quack; < kwakken to fling down, apparently ultimately of imitative origin) + zalver person who cures by using ointments (16th cent.; < zalven to rub with ointment (16th cent.; < zalf: see salve n.1)), or < kwakzalven to use or sell false cures (although this is first attested later: 1573 as quacsaluen; either < kwak (as above) + zalf (as above), or < †kwakzalf salve used as a home remedy (although this is first attested slightly later: 1578)). Compare Middle Dutch quacsalven,
noun (1392 in an isolated attestation in uncertain sense, apparently
‘home remedy’ or ‘curing with home remedies’, apparently showing either a
plural noun or use as noun of a verb infinitive). Compare German Quacksalber (16th cent.), Swedish kvacksalvare (17th cent.), Danish kvaksalver (18th cent.). Compare quack n.2
An alternative explanation of the word interprets the first element as early modern Dutch quacken (Dutch kwaken) to squawk, chatter, boast, figurative use of quacken (Dutch kwaken) to quack, croak (see quack v.1), apparently with reference to quacksalvers aggressively promoting their cures.

With quacksalvery n. at Derivatives compare Dutch kwakzalverij (1599 in Kiliaan as quack-saluerije), German Quacksalberei (17th cent.).
Now arch. or hist.
1. A person who dishonestly claims knowledge of or skill in medicine; a pedlar of false cures; = quack n.2 1.
Very common in 17th cent.; in later times largely superseded by the shortened form quack.
1579 S. Gosson Schoole of Abuse f. 36, A quackesaluers budget, of filthy receites.
1596 Vlysses vpon Aiax sig. E, The quacksaluers in Germany swalow spiders in open assemblies to shew the vertue of their confections.
1607 B. Jonson Volpone ii. ii. 5 They are Quack-saluers, Fellowes, that liue by venting oyles, and drugs.
1658 J. Rowland tr. T. Muffet Theater of Insects in Topsell's Hist. Four-footed Beasts (rev. ed.) 1074 One accidental rash cure of a disease..makes a Quacksalver a great Physician.
a1670 J. Hacket Cent. Serm. (1675) 544 St. Peter had no such Quacksalver tricks in Divinity.
1719 in  T. D'Urfey Wit & Mirth IV. 87 Come you Quack-salvers that do kill Sometimes a Patient by your skill.
1757 J. Kersey New Classical Eng. Dict., Empyrical, belonging to An Empyrick, a Physician by bare Practice, a Quack-Salver.
1821 Scott Kenilworth II. i. 23 Thou poisoning quacksalver and witch-monger.
1856 R. A. Vaughan Hours with Mystics II. viii. ix. 101 What
a gulf between the high personage our romance imagines and..that
shuffling quacksalver which our matter-of-fact research discovers.
1913 Times 19 Feb. 7/3 All the time quack-salvers cry their cure-alls in the market-place.
1991 G. Greer Change ix. 228 Wilbush sees in this quack-salver's advertising pamphlet the emergence of menopause into medical literature.
2. = quack n.2 2.
1611 W. Baker in  T. Coryate Crudities sig. g2, The Anatomie, dissection, or cutting vp of that great Quack-saluer of words, Mr. Thomas Coryate our Brittish Mercurie.
1847 Times 15 Dec. 5/3 There
was no need of equity lawyers, nor of common lawyers, of currency
doctors, not of any of the various quacksalvers of civilization.
1889 A. C. Swinburne Study of Jonson 43 Brother Zeal-of-the-land is no vulgar impostor, no mere religious quacksalver.
1918 Eng. Jrnl. 7 295 Specious and persistent quacksalvers, the tribe of purists are convincing because of their obtrusive and weighty assurance.
1965 E. Dahlberg Reasons of Heart 47 There is a quacksalver in every savant, and a seer in each fool.
1994 Crank Autumn 50 The..fall-out of a few quacksalvers and confidence persons trying to make a little money and have a little fun.
Derivatives

quacksalverism n. Obs. = quacksalvery n.
1864 T. Carlyle Hist. Friedrich II of Prussia IV. xvi. ix. 392 Sublime Quacksalverism.
quackˈsalvery n. the method or practice of a quack, quackery.
1617 J. Minsheu Ὴγεμὼν είς τὰς γλῶσσας: Ductor in Linguas, Quacksaluerie, L. Medicina vnguentaria, Intraleptice.
1906 Mod. Philol. 3 413 Not simple poetry alone, but all the facts of life and death as well, will yield to such quacksalvery.
1981 German Q. 54 182 Quacksalvery and fraud were dependent on a quick getaway before their clients discovered they had been duped.
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