Sunday, 15 March 2009
Back in 1755, Samuel Johnson included the following definitions in his famous Dictionary:
A boastful pretender to arts which he does not understand; a vain boastful pretender to physick; one who proclaims his own medical abilities in publick places; an artful tricking practitioner in physick.
Falsely pretending, or falsely alleging, to cure diseases: as, a quack doctor; a quack medicine.
Mean or bad acts in physick; false pretensions to any art.
Boasting like a quack; trickish as a quack.
The practice of quackery.
One who brags of medicines or salves; a medicaster; a charlatan. The quacksalver was at first one who made, sold, or applied ointments or oils. Afterwards it denoted a kind of charlatan, a travelling quack.
How useful it would be to restore some of these words to our general vocabulary.
In particular, "Quacksalver" could be again be a convenient term for certain kinds of CAM practitioner...