Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by cunfewshenx3, Aug 26, 2007.
¿Que significa "matasanos"?
Matasanos es un médico. La verdad es que yo hace muchos años que no oigo esta palabra. Desde luego, a un médico no le gustaría que lo llamaran así.
Es una forma despectiva de llamar a un mal médico que en lugar de "curar enfermos" "mata sanos" con sus fallidos remedios
We call them "quacks" in colloquial American English
Txiri, I'd say that a "quack" is not a matasanos, but a curandero, that is, a false doctor. Matasanos is a disparaging word for referring to real physicians, and curiously enough is not included in the DRAE.
Hope my English doesn't make the explanation too confuse.
No, I would call a "curandero" a "witch doctor"
Ok, but a "witch doctor" is a more anthropological use of curandero. That expression is close to "shaman" in this context. But, beside the use you remark, the word curandero is used often to refer to those who practice forms of medicine that are alternative to traditional or western medicie. Those alternative medicines are considered or called quack medicine or pseudoscience. Matasanos has nothing to do with all these. It is used to refer to authentic doctors. Pitifully enough I don't know of any other example, but I'm sure there is some comparable term for referring to (real) lawyers (not to those who pretend to be lawyers.
The despective term for bad lawyers is "shyster" (among others).
I wouldn´t consider "curanderos" quacks. There is the "healer" idea you refer to, but also the santería type of healer. A folk healer who uses herbal or holistic practices might perfectly well cure or heal some types of ailments as well as an M. D. The santería type is more along the lines of a witch doctor. Shamans-- I associate the word with Native American "medicine men" or African tribal healers. Note that we used "witch doctor" in English long before we started taking notice (or, ahem, I started taking notice) of Native American shamanism or "curanderos" on a wider scale of cultural perspectives. I also do not consider "folk medicine" as quack medicine or pseudoscience. I would consider it more a branch of holistic medicine.
During the period of the late 1800s when you had traveling salesmen selling "tonics" with cocaine and other substances which have now made their way onto the DEA´s list of controlled substances, I suspect those individuals were sooner or later considered as quacks, and rightly so. The more modern use of "quack" is likely a carryover from the earlier period, but yes, it does refer to authentic doctors whose skill is called into question.
colloq, often derog a term for any doctor or medical practitioner, etc.
Dutch: kwakzalver (de)
French: charlatan (m)
German: Quacksalber (m)
Now I see you're right, Txiri. Thanks for the info.
En los años 1600, tanto Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra en Don Quijote de la Mancha y Francisco de Quevedo en varias de sus satiras mencionan la palabra ¨matasanos¨ refiriendose a los medicos. Si bien desconozco su origen exacto, esta palabra es un legado de la crítica y burlona España del siglo de oro.
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