"Quack" term for phony doctors

I was reading an online article about homeopathic remedies, magnetic remedies, and other “quack” medicine when I thought - why “quack”?

How did phony medicine and phony doctors come to be referred to as “Quackery” and “quacks”?

my WAG is it may refer to the sound a duck makes and it means the guy who sold it just talked empty talk , with no substance.

A quick look at http://www.dictionary.com edifies us thusly:


So what’s a quacksalver?


I don’t subscribe to the OED, which I infinitely prefer as a source for word origins (snob that I am!) but I think this gives a pretty good idea. Besides, the OED once told me who, what, and where were once spelled with the letter Q. How cool is that?

quack English has two words quackQuack ‘person claiming to be a doctor’ [17] is short for an earlier quacksalver, which etymologically denoted ‘someone who prattles on or boasts about the efficacy of his remedies.’ It was borrowed from early modern Dutch quacksalver, a compound formed from the now obsolete quacken ‘chatter, prattle’ and salf, the Dutch relative of English salve. –Dictionary of Word Origins, John Ayto

So, apparently we owe Coldfire’s ancestors for the word.

Indeed! Think how cumbersome it would be to say “idiot moron fake doctor who couldn’t cure the cold from an ice cube if his life depended on it” every time.

Dankje wel, **Coldfire{/b]!

We owe a lot of other words to Coldie, too, for that matter: If I recall correctly, modern Dutch is the closest relative to Anglo-Saxon of any living language.