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n. Archaic
A quack or charlatan.

[Obsolete Dutch : Middle Dutch quac-, unguent, or quacken, to quack, boast + Middle Dutch salven, to salve.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Medicine) an archaic word for quack2
[C16: from Dutch, from quack, apparently: to hawk + salf salve1]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈkwækˌsæl vər)

a quack; charlatan.
[1570–80; < early Dutch (now kwakzalver); see quack1, salve1, -er1]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
A quack, in the sense of a medical impostor, was originally called quacksalver, meaning a person who cures with home remedies.
Quacksalver bogus medic; Ambodexter someone who takes bribes from both sides; Slug-a-bed couch potato; Awhape amazing; Dowsabel sweetheart; Rouzy-bouzy lager lout; Hugge to shudder or shake with fear or with cold; Swerk gloomy, troubled, or sad; Wasteheart to show grief, regret or disappointment; Momist a harsh critic; Stomaching full of resentment; Merry-go-sorry a mixture of joy and sorrow; Sillytonian gullible; Hugger-mugger someone who works in secret; Snout-fair good looking; Man-millinery male vanity; Tremblable dreadful; Coney to trick
The selection of the story of a quack was in line with a subject that had proved to be popular among the Czech avant-garde artists back in the 1920s (also treated by Emil Frantisek Burian, in the opera The Quacksalver).
The word "quack" derives from the Dutch word "quacksalver," meaning a boaster or hawker who applies a salve.
In England the word "mountebank" was used interchangeably with terms like "quack," "quacksalver," and "empiric." Quack, derived from the Dutch quacksalver--which like the word "empiric"--describes persons who are untrained yet pretend to have knowledge of herbal or home remedies.
The 16th century name quacksalver - a peddler of fake medicines - is the origin of the word quack as a derogatory term for a dodgy doctor.
AB auras / burbs AD Aira / dird AF Aiae (HI) / fife AH taiga / thigh AK sauna / skunk AN aevis / Nevin (CA, KY) AP area / prep AU zamboorak / zumbooruk AY coala / coyly AC aleak / cleck AE anticar / enticer AG aurae/gurge AI quacksalver / quicksilver AM toatoa / tom-tom AO abelian / obelion AR Aotea / roter AW Aoa (AS) / wow
Apparently 'quack' is an abbreviation of the 16th century ointment quacksalver, derived from the Dutch quack, meaning to hawk and saif.
We have severe decrees against such traveling medicos from French kings Philippe the Fair in 1311 and John the Good in 1352, but even these postdate by more than half a century Rutebeuf's Dit de la herberie, which is already a literary appropriation of a quacksalver performance.