From our friends at Merriam-Webster:
The Word of the Day for Nov 09 is:
mountebank \MOUNT-ih-bank\ noun
1: a person who sells quack medicines from a platform
*2: a boastful unscrupulous pretender : charlatan
In his newspaper column, Gavin criticized the talk-radio host as "a
mountebank whose 'expert' opinions and advice are complete hooey."
Did you know?
"Mountebank" derives from the Italian "montimbanco," which was formed
by combining the verb "montare" ("to mount"), the preposition "in"
(converted to "im," meaning "in" or "on") and the noun "banco" ("bench").
Put these components together and you can deduce the literal origins of
"mountebank" as someone mounted on a bench — the "bench" being the platform
on which charlatans from the 16th and 17th centuries would stand to sell
their phony medicines. Mountebanks often included various forms of light
entertainment on stage in order to attract customers. Later, extended uses
of "mountebank" referred to someone who falsely claims to have knowledge
about a particular subject or a person who simply pretends to be something
he or she is not in order to gain attention.
For more politically connected words, go here: