- a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.
Origin of sycophant
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sycophantic
It was clearly meant to be a sycophantic gesture, but the jape backfired like a blocked Victorian shotgun.Royal Cover-Up as Prince of Wales Shoots Owl (In 1896)
February 27, 2013
He could be petty and mean-spirited to subordinates, ingratiating and sycophantic to bosses and celebrities.The Only Sportscaster That Mattered: New Biography of Howard Cosell
November 20, 2011
The companies' management teams, meanwhile, were becoming inbred and sycophantic.The End of the Detroit Dream
January 6, 2010
A comic imitation of a sycophantic head waiter took him over.Courting Brando
December 19, 2008
Fifanti's mean, sycophantic air fell away from him as by magic.
His age may have been fifty; his air was mean and sycophantic.
If he was at all sycophantic, it was his will rather than his nature to be so.
The Manager smiled the sycophantic smile of one who worships Mammon.The Tale of Timber Town
It is not pity—whining, sycophantic pity—alone that will do them good.Gipsy Life
- using flattery to win favour from individuals wielding influence; toadyish; obsequious
- a person who uses flattery to win favour from individuals wielding influence; toady
Word Origin and History for sycophantic
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.