Quacks. A school of medicine founded by Serapion of Alex. andria, who contended that it is not necessary to obtain a knowledge of the nature and functions of the body in order to treat diseases, but that experience is the surest and best guide. They were opposed to the Dogmatics (q.v.). (Greek, peirao, to try, which gives the Greek empeiria, experience.)
We must not So stain our judgment, or corrupt our hope, To prostitute our past-cure malady To empirics.
Shakespeare: All's Well That Ends Well, ii. 1.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894