• synonyms


or lac·quey

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noun, plural lack·eys.
  1. a servile follower; toady.
  2. a footman or liveried manservant.
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verb (used with object), lack·eyed, lack·ey·ing.
  1. to attend as a lackey does.
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Origin of lackey

1520–30; < Middle French laquais, perhaps < Catalan lacayo, alacayo < ?
Related formsun·lack·eyed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

drudge, domestic, valet, butler, retainer, toady, subordinate, attendant, steward, underling, doormat, factotum, flunkey

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British Dictionary definitions for lackey


  1. a servile follower; hanger-on
  2. a liveried male servant or valet
  3. a person who is treated like a servant
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  1. (when intr, often foll by for) to act as a lackey (to)
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Also (rare): lacquey

Word Origin

C16: via French laquais, from Old French, perhaps from Catalan lacayo, alacayo; perhaps related to alcalde
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for lackey


1520s, "footman, running footman, valet," from Middle French laquais "foot soldier, footman, servant" (15c.), of unknown origin; perhaps from Old Provençal lacai, from lecai "glutton, covetous," from lecar "to lick." Alternative etymology is via French from Catalan alacay, from Arabic al-qadi "the judge." Yet another guess traces it through Spanish lacayo, from Italian lacchè, from Modern Greek oulakes, from Turkish ulak "runner, courier." This suits the original sense better, but OED says Italian lacchè is from French. Sense of "servile follower" appeared 1580s. As a political term of abuse it dates from 1939 in communist jargon.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper