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Posts Tagged ‘mountebank’

Word of the Week

September 25, 2009 2 comments

I hope this will be a regular friday feature (an open thread kind of thing).  I was looking over GRE material and I was surprised at how many words I knew (i.e, I could recognize and define them), but didn’t know (they weren’t a part of my working vocab).  So I figured I’d try to be more attentive when I come across cool words and I’d post them here.  Here’s this week’s.

Mountebank, \ˈmaun-ti-ˌbaŋk\- Charlatan, pretender. 

I came across this in Manchester’s The Glory and the Dream (which,  by the way, I highly recommend).  The sentence was something like “the American people hadn’t yet realized [Joe McCarthy] was a mountebank”.  Incidentally, am I part of the first generation of Republicans that feels absolutely no need to defend any part of McCarthy?  The Buckleyites stuck with him pretty ostentatiously through the 50’s and, while the Cold War was going on, I got the sense that most Republicans weren’t comfortable totally disowning such a virulent anti-communist (my Republican American History teacher painted a pretty rosy picture of him).  But, I’m with the Democrat Manchester:  Joe McCarthy, what a mountebank.