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  • Noun




The seemingly harmless public official was clearly a self-serving sycophant who flattered superiors to obtain favors. This lying sycophant or puppet spoke empty praises to anyone who would hear him for the purpose of making those people think well of him so he, in turn, could gain power. This sycophant used such an excessive array of false compliments that he at long last wormed his way into a leadership position.

Quiz: What is a sycophant?

  • One who falsely praises those in authority to get something he wants.
  • One who is good at telling others what they want to hear.
  • One who works his or her way up to a position of power.

Memory Hook

Syco Pant Man "Man, you're a sicko! You ask the boss what pants he wants you to wear? You're such a sick sycophant!"


  • Whenever you commend, add your reasons for doing so; it is this which distinguishes the approbation of a man of sense from the flattery of sycophants and admiration of fools. — Sir Richard Steele Sir richard steele
  • What stood out about Murray then was that he never acted like a sycophant around Parcells; he asked pointed questions and made the show an interesting listen. —Sports Illustrated
  • All one can assume is that Mr. Irving is either unaware of the holes in his logic, or he is a Bush sycophant who believes his own words even though one sentence contradicts the next. —Wired
  • Only a slavish sycophant like Herbert can take what was unquestionably a bumbling, error-filled week for Obama and recast it as the work of a political Bobby Fischer. —TIME

Word Ingredients

syc fig
-o- connective
phan cause to appear, show

A sycophant is a “shower of figs;” one possible explanation of this word is that sycophants would inform authorities about crooks who were illegally exporting “figs” from Athens.

Word Constellation