View Single Post
Old 2021-09-15, 13:29   #41
Dr Sardonicus
Dr Sardonicus's Avatar
Feb 2017

512610 Posts

I have long been familiar with the term "quack" meaning a medical charlatan. I had never bothered looking up the etymology.

I have now done so. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the Dutch word quacksalver (modern spelling kwakzalver), a Dutch word for a seller of nostrums - pills, potions, ointments etc often claimed to have secret or exotic ingredients, sure to cure what ails you. Thus arose the related US term, "snake oil salesman."

In recent times, "quack" has usually meant somebody without actual medical knowledge or training, who sells pretended treatments or "cures" for ailments.

We are currently witnessing a twist on the notion of medical quackery: Trained physicians, with current medical licenses, are spouting falsehoods about nonexistent "dangers" of preventative vaccines, and in their place offering nostrums they claim with no evidence prevent or cure COVID-19 - vitamin and mineral supplements, antibiotics, hydroxychloroquine, and ivermectin. Pay me some dough, I'll write you a scrip. In other words, doctors are turning their backs on their medical training, and on medical ethics, and are practicing quackery.
Dr Sardonicus is online now   Reply With Quote