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sycophant

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n sycophant a person who tries to please someone in order to gain a personal advantage
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Sycophant A base parasite; a mean or servile flatterer; especially, a flatterer of princes and great men. "A sycophant will everything admire:
      Each verse, each sentence, sets his soul on fire."
    • Sycophant An informer; a talebearer. "Accusing sycophants, of all men, did best sort to his nature."
    • Sycophant To inform against; hence, to calumniate. "Sycophanting and misnaming the work of his adversary."
    • Sycophant To play the sycophant toward; to flatter obsequiously.
    • v. i Sycophant To play the sycophant.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n sycophant A tale-bearer or informer in general.
    • n sycophant A parasite; a mean flatterer; especially, a flatterer of princes and great men.
    • n sycophant Synonyms Parasite, Sycophant (see parasite), fawner, toady, toad-eater, flunkey.
    • sycophant Parasitical; servile; obsequious; sycophantic.
    • sycophant To give information about, or tell tales of, in order to gain favor; calumniate.
    • sycophant To play the sycophant toward; flatter meanly and officiously.
    • sycophant To play the sycophant.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Sycophant sik′ō-fant a common informer: a servile flatterer
    • ***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. sycophanta, a slanderer, deceiver, parasite, Gr. a false accuser, false adviser, literally, a fig shower; a fig + to show: cf. F. sycophante,. The reason for the name is not certainly known. See Phenomenon
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. sykophantēs, usually said to mean one who informed against persons exporting figs from Attica or plundering the sacred fig-trees; but more prob. one who brings figs to light by shaking the tree, hence one who makes rich men yield up their fruit by informations and other vile arts—sykon, a fig, phainein, to show.

Usage

In literature:

The court was not the principal offender, but was carried away by the current of sycophancy.
"In the World War" by Count Ottokar Czernin
You were lately observing that all English literary men were sycophants?
"Isopel Berners The History of certain doings in a Staffordshire Dingle, July, 1825" by George Borrow
If they could be restored they would bring back personal caprice, favoritism, sycophancy, and intrigue.
"What Social Classes Owe to Each Other" by William Graham Sumner
It is the antithesis of sycophancy.
"Twentieth Century Negro Literature" by Various
You were lately observing that all English literary men were sycophants?
"Lavengro The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest, Vol. 2 (of 2)" by George Borrow
You were lately observing that all English literary men were sycophants?
"Lavengro The Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest" by George Borrow
When any of our people turn sycophants, it is you English who have coached them.
"A Gentleman's Gentleman" by F. Hopkinson Smith
How do you spell 'sycophant'?
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, March 11, 1914" by Various
In a word, there was no man less of a sycophant.
"A Sketch of the Life of the late Henry Cooper Barrister-at-Law, of the Norfolk Circuit; as also, of his Father" by William Cooper
Wiegel was a domineering blusterer to his subordinates, but a cringing sycophant to those over him.
"Between the Lines" by Henry Bascom Smith
Sycophancy of its leaders to France.
"The Loyalists of America and Their Times, Vol. 2 of 2" by Edgerton Ryerson
The officers, except a few of Essex's sycophants, like Sir Guilly Meyricke, chafed.
"Sir Walter Ralegh" by William Stebbing
Now the present writer will not join in such sycophancy.
"The Romany Rye A Sequel to 'Lavengro'" by George Borrow
If they only knew, what sycophants would fawn upon him!
"Skippy Bedelle" by Owen Johnson
Was it such sycophants to get Corruption swelled the public debt?
"Fables of John Gay" by John Gay
I had no dependant to qualify the deed, no sycophant to divert my attention to more soothing objects.
"Coelebs In Search of a Wife" by Hannah More
Here are two stories which, at different times, were told by De Morny's familiars and sycophants in order to stamp him the grand seigneur.
"An Englishman in Paris" by Albert D. (Albert Dresden) Vandam
Murad was not strong, and was easily deceived by sycophants and ruled by women.
"Oriental Women" by Edward Bagby Pollard
The judge listened with deference and attention, his manner being suddenly converted into the very lowest sycophancy.
"Gerald Fitzgerald The Chevalier" by Charles James Lever
Shall fawning sycophants be paid, For flattering fools?
"Some Specimens of the Poetry of the Ancient Welsh Bards" by Evan Evans
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In poetry:

She departed well pleas'd, as a gamester who'd won,
Or sycophant promis'd a pension.
"A courtship like this, which so sweetly begun,
A union must be his intention."
"The Impatient Lass" by William Hutton
When we learned to read it with our rod,
reflected light revealed
a lead mirror, a bruised shield
seamed with scars and shadow-soiled.
A half faced sycophant, its glitter borrowed,
rode around our throne.
"Landing on the Moon" by May Swenson
But the sweetness of mercy brew'd bitter destruction, and the
frighten'd monarchs come back;
Each comes in state, with his train—hangman, priest, tax-gatherer,
Soldier, lawyer, lord, jailer, and sycophant.
"Europe, The 72d And 73d Years Of These States" by Walt Whitman
Time shifts the scenes--
The haughty prince and the most abject slave,
Who cowered and trembled 'neath his austere glance,
The fawning and ignoble sycophant,
The courtier and the basest serf, have met
On equal terms beneath the silent dust.
"Metabole." by Alfred Castner King

In news:

Blinkered, '70s-dwelling, laminate-waving, trend-tracking sycophants.
Sycophants like George Tenet and more time watching Al Jazeera television.
I t's hard to be an Obama sycophant these days.
It's hard to be an Obama sycophant these days.
Joe Biden's—and the President's— Sycophancy Problem.
Hacks, Sycophants, Adventurers, and Heroes: Madison's Commanders in the War of 1812 .
When it comes to Saudi Arabia, sycophancy is too often bipartisan.
The world — from tooth fairies and sleigh-riding philanthropists, to steroid-using jocks and workplace sycophants — is shot through with lies and populated by the truth-challenged.
Why did I allow so many sycophants and bad influences to be around me.
Are you dying to see Orange County's power broker s (and their sycophants) in person.
Amazingly, all of the sycophants who celebrated rock 'n' roll throughout its history have shown up for its funeral.
Wright Calls Those Who Question Obama's Religion "Sycophants".
According to press reports from sycophants in the mainstream media, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin had a productive, 2-hour, private meeting of the minds during this week's G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.
One of the perils of celebrity is that with money and fame piling up almost exponentially, sycophants bombard your personal orbit -- often looking very respectable -- and seek to profit off your talents.
It is time for even the liberal sycophants to start standing up against Barack Obama's transgressions.
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