sycophant

[sik-uh-fuhnt, -fant, sahy-kuh-]
See more synonyms for sycophant on Thesaurus.com

Origin of sycophant

1530–40; < Latin sȳcophanta < Greek sȳkophántēs informer, equivalent to sŷko(n) fig + phan- (stem of phaínein to show) + -tēs agentive suffix
Related formssyc·o·phan·tic, syc·o·phan·ti·cal, syc·o·phant·ish, adjectivesyc·o·phan·ti·cal·ly, syc·o·phant·ish·ly, adverbsyc·o·phant·ism, noun

Synonyms for sycophant

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for sycophant

Contemporary Examples of sycophant

  • However reactionary a sycophant to rich people and slasher of programs for others he might be, he is the governor.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Conservatives and Rock and Roll

    Michael Tomasky

    June 22, 2012

Historical Examples of sycophant


British Dictionary definitions for sycophant

sycophant

noun
  1. a person who uses flattery to win favour from individuals wielding influence; toady
Derived Formssycophancy, noun

Word Origin for sycophant

C16: from Latin sӯcophanta, from Greek sukophantēs, literally: the person showing a fig, apparently referring to the fig sign used in making an accusation, from sukon fig + phainein to show; sense probably developed from ``accuser'' to ``informer, flatterer''
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 sycophant
n.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper