Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Would you say there are lots of charlatans these days?

I have a feeling there are more and more of them nowadays.... don't you think? Let's take a look at this word... Who is...


Well, the simplest definition would be to say that this is a person who deceives others by pretending to have special skills or knowledge. These are usually guys who claim to know some secrets about medicine, but more often than not it is not true.

In English the word charlatan has a few synonyms such as a quack, a witch-doctor, or a medicine man. The word charlatan is not so popular in everyday life as this word has some negative associations, but I have a feeling there are quite many people who offer different sorts of alternative treatments although they have no idea about medicine. Of course they would never call themselves charlatans, but I know they are :)   

In Polish, we have a similar word for a charlatan and it is 'szarlatan'

OK, what's your standpoint on charlatans then?


  1. Would the word 'charlatan' apply to some of the so-called experts we see on television talk shows or hear on the radio? I see a lot of them specializing in mental health on tv and giving advice but in reality they are not even licensed therapists or family counselors.

    1. Toby, I think that's a good way to use the word. My mother also calls people charlatans when they (falsely) claim to have special mystical powers such as mind reading or fortune telling.

    2. Thanks. Yes, these are pretty dangerous guys as they - as far as I know - use some black magic or evil powers and do not really help people in the long run. Besides, they charge poor people quite heavily, which is very suspicious...

  2. I think the internet might be swamped with charlatans. There are hundreds of sites about health and alternative treatments that are possibly hosted by individuals who don't have the proper training under their belt, so we should be extra careful because not everything that we read is true and safe.

    1. Exactly. It's better not to trust such practices. I consider bioenergytherapists charlatans too. It is quite surprising how many people actually are ready to pay so much for something they don't know the source of... I'd say this is pretty risky, don't you think?


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