9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[lak-ee] /ˈlæk i/
noun, plural lackeys.
a servile follower; toady.
a footman or liveried manservant.
verb (used with object), lackeyed, lackeying.
to attend as a lackey does.
Also, lacquey.
Origin of lackey
1520-30; < Middle French laquais, perhaps < Catalan lacayo, alacayo < ?
Related forms
unlackeyed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lackey
  • In danger of humiliation, he sent a lackey to sit in for him.
  • After all, helicopter ben is a cheap suit who has quickly replaced greenspan as their chief lackey.
  • Essentials are brought to him by a publishing-house lackey.
  • lackey then climbed into the back of the car directly behind the driver's seat.
British Dictionary definitions for lackey


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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