Quackery is the promotion of fraudulent or ignorant medical practices. A quack is a "fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill" or "a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge, or qualifications he or she does not possess; a charlatan or snake oil salesman". The term quack is a clipped form of the archaic term quacksalver, from Dutch: kwakzalver a "hawker of salve". In the Middle Ages the term quack meant "shouting". The quacksalvers sold their wares on the market shouting in a loud voice.
Common elements of general quackery include questionable diagnoses using questionable diagnostic tests, as well as alternative or refuted treatments, especially for serious diseases such as cancer. Quackery is often described as "health fraud" with the salient characteristic of aggressive promotion.