A charlatan is a person who claims to have knowledge or skills that they do not actually possess, often in order to deceive others for personal gain.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Fraud, impostor, quack, mountebank, swindler, cheat, deceiver, imposter, trickster.


Genuine, authentic, honest, sincere.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun charlatans, charlatan
Verb None
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The self-proclaimed financial expert turned out to be a charlatan who had been scamming investors for years.

  • The psychic was exposed as a charlatan when her predictions failed to come true.

  • The man who claimed to have invented a cure for cancer was revealed to be a charlatan selling snake oil.

  • The art dealer turned out to be a charlatan who had been selling forgeries to unsuspecting buyers.


The word “charlatan” is often used to describe someone who makes false or exaggerated claims about their abilities or accomplishments, with the intention of deceiving others for personal gain. Charlatans can be found in many different fields, from medicine and finance to the arts and entertainment.

The term “charlatan” has its roots in the French word “charlatan,” which referred to a person who sold quack remedies at fairs and markets. In modern usage, the term has broadened to encompass a wide range of fraudulent and deceptive practices.

Charlatans can be difficult to identify, as they often use persuasive language and tactics to gain the trust of their victims. They may also use props or other forms of deception to lend credibility to their claims. However, there are often red flags that can help alert people to the presence of a charlatan, such as a lack of verifiable credentials, a history of fraud or deception, or claims that seem too good to be true.

In terms of usage, “charlatan” is typically used to describe someone who deliberately misleads or deceives others, rather than someone who is simply mistaken or ignorant. The term is often used in a negative or pejorative sense, and can be seen as implying dishonesty or unethical behavior. As such, it is important to use the term carefully, and to avoid applying it to individuals or groups without sufficient evidence.