Definition of sycophant noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˈsɪkəfænt//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɪkəfænt//
(formal, disapproving)
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a person who praises important or powerful people too much and in a way that is not sincere, especially in order to get something from them Word Originmid 16th cent. (denoting an informer): from French sycophante, or via Latin from Greek sukophantēs ‘informer’, from sukon ‘fig’ + phainein ‘to show’, perhaps with reference to making the insulting gesture of the “fig” (sticking the thumb between two fingers) to informers.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: sycophant