- a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.
Origin of sycophant
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sycophant
However reactionary a sycophant to rich people and slasher of programs for others he might be, he is the governor.Conservatives and Rock and Roll
June 22, 2012
Shakespeare was a sycophant, a flunkey if you will, but nothing worse.The Man Shakespeare
People will say he was a vulgar parvenu, a sycophant, a snob—heaven knows what.The Woman Thou Gavest Me
The sycophant recognised the arms on the panel and collapsed.The False Chevalier
William Douw Lighthall
"Then a sycophant he is and will remain," said the Alexandrian with a laugh.A Thorny Path [Per Aspera], Complete
Though, like most of his order, zealous for monarchy, he was no sycophant.The History of England from the Accession of James II.
Thomas Babington Macaulay
- a person who uses flattery to win favour from individuals wielding influence; toady
Word Origin and History for sycophant
1530s (in Latin form sycophanta), "informer, talebearer, slanderer," from Latin sycophanta, from Greek sykophantes, originally "one who shows the fig," from sykon "fig" + phanein "to show." "Showing the fig" was a vulgar gesture made by sticking the thumb between two fingers, a display which vaguely resembles a fig, itself symbolic of a vagina (sykon also meant "vulva"). The story goes that prominent politicians in ancient Greece held aloof from such inflammatory gestures, but privately urged their followers to taunt their opponents. The sense of "mean, servile flatterer" is first recorded in English 1570s.