Macquarie Dictionary


Beware the quack

At a time when we are all relying to the expertise of our doctors and nurses, we are on the lookout for quacks, and not the kind you hear from a duckquack is an ignorant or fraudulent pretender to medical skill. Think Dr Nick Riviera from The Simpsons

Similar words include mountebank, which more specifically refers to someone who sells quack medicines from a platform in public places, appealing to the audience by tricks and story storytelling (like a more sinister soapbox orator), and snake oil merchant, a confidence trickster who sells phoney medical treatments and other wares. Then there is nostrum, a word for a quack medicine. 

Another medical related slang term is happy juice, a nickname for any pain relieving medication that comes in liquid form. 

For other slang words, check out our Australian Word Map, where you can search words by region, or submit your own slang words via our Suggest a Word portal. 

Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here. 

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