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nostrum - vocabulary

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips

noun

A medicine sold with exaggerated claims of its efficacy; quack medicine; snake oil; a scheme, theory, or device, especially one to remedy social or political ills.

As to Squire Western, he was seldom out of the sickroom, unless when he was engaged either in the field or over his bottle. Nay, he would sometimes retire hither to take his beer, and it was not without difficulty that he was prevented from forcing Jones to take his beer too: for no quack ever held his nostrum to be a more general panacea than he did this; which, he said, had more virtue in it than was in all the physic in an apothecary’s shop.

—Henry Fielding The History of Tom Jones (1749)

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