Word of the Day Archive
Sunday January 4, 2004
A person who attempts to win favor by flattering people of wealth or influence; a parasite; a toady.
The praise Oxford received as a poet may simply have issued from the mouths of sycophants hungry for patronage.
-- Howard Chua-Eoan and Helen Gibson, "The Bard's Beard?", Time, February 15, 1999
Friendship with the son and daughter-in-law of an imprisoned Supreme Court justice afforded me a special pipeline into high-level Ghanaian gossip about the alarming psychological condition of the head of state, said alternately to be suffering from delusions of grandeur fed by sycophants or to be reduced to quivering agoraphobia after the attempts on his life.
-- David Levering Lewis, "Ghana, 1963", The American Scholar, Winter 1999
I became a sycophant, assuring Nick he was smarter than everyone else put together, smarter than his boss, than the people at the bank, than anyone in his family or mine.
-- Lisa Kleypas, Blue-Eyed Devil
Sycophant derives from Greek sukophantes, "an accuser (especially a false accuser) or rogue," from sukon, "fig" + phantes, "one who shows," from phainein, "to show."