Word of the Day
Definition: Someone who flatters people of influence in hopes of having some influence spent in her direction; a person who seeks to further himself by licking the boots of his superiors; a "yes man."
Usage: The rather worn joke goes something like this—Lackey: "Yes, boss, whatever you say, boss." Boss: "'Yes? Yes? Why do you say 'yes' to whatever I say? What kind of sycophant are you?" Lackey: "Um, what kind do you want me to be?" The noun is "sycophancy."
Suggested Usage: "Julian is proud of his independence; there's not a sycophantic bone in his body" exemplifies the adjectival form of the word. "Dieter thought that he maintained his dignity, but we thought he performed sycophantically before his superiors all evening," illustrates the adverb.
Etymology: From Latin sycophanta "informer, slanderer" from Greek sykophantes "informer." "Sykophantes" comprises sykon "fig" + -phantes "one who shows or displays." The stem of "-phantes" also gives us "photo" and its PIE root "bha-" turns up in English "beacon" and "banner"—all rather showy things, like the sycophant showing obeisance