Posted by David FG on May 29, 2005
In Reply to: Snake oil posted by Peter O on May 29, 2005
: Snake oil: can someone please help with an explanantion of the origins of this?
I believe it dates from the days when travelling 'salesmen' (conmen would be a better description) would go from town to town selling patent 'medicines' alleged to cure everything from baldness to ingrowing toenails. Apparently these concoctions would often be claimed to have been distilled or whatever from snakes. I have no idea why.
Hence 'snake oil' is a quack cure-all.