toady

toad·y (tō’dē)
n. pl. toad·ies A person who flatters or defers to others for self-serving reasons; a sycophant.
tr. & intr.v. toad·ied, toad·y·ing, toad·ies To be a toady to or behave like a toady. See Synonyms at FAWN(Cf. ↑fawn)1.
[From TOAD(Cf. ↑toad).]
Word History: The first toadies were actually toad-eaters. The word toady has its origins in the practices of seventeenth-century quacks and charlatans who claimed that they could draw out poisons from poisoning victims. Toads were thought to be poisonous, and so these quacks would have an attendant eat—or pretend to eat—a toad. The quacks could then make a show of drawing out the poison and saving their helpers' lives. Since eating a toad is an unpleasant job, these attendants came to epitomize the type of person who would do anything for a superior, and toadeater became the name for a flattering, fawning parasite. In the eighteenth century, the noun toadeating meaning "sycophancy, flattery," appeared, and there was even a verb to toadeat, meaning "to flatter, fawn upon." For example, the correspondence of Caroline Fox, Lady Holland (1723-1774), contains the following comment in a letter to her sister, the Duchess of Leinster: She [a family member] has told Lord Holland all the privileges the old Duchess expects. He says you have them all already, you are so toad-eated. Later, in the nineteenth century, the word toady, "sycophant, flatterer," came into use, and it was apparently formed directly from the word toad rather than shortened from toadeater.

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • toady — toady·ish; toady·ism; toady; …   English syllables

  • toady — n *parasite, sycophant, favorite, lickspittle, bootlicker, hanger on, leech, sponge, sponger toady vb *fawn, truckle, cringe, cower Analogous words: *follow, tag, trail, tail: blandish, cajole, wheedle (see COAX) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • toady — [n] sycophant adulator, apple polisher, ass kisser*, backscratcher*, backslapper*, bootlicker*, brownnoser*, doormat, doter, fan, fawner, flatterer, flunky, groupie*, hanger on*, kiss up*, lackey, minion, teacher’s pet, yesperson*; concept 423… …   New thesaurus

  • toady — [tō′dē] n. pl. toadies [short for TOADEATER, quack doctor s assistant who pretended to eat toads (thought to be poisonous) to show the efficacy of quack medicines] a servile flatterer; sycophant, esp. one who does distasteful or unprincipled… …   English World dictionary

  • Toady — Toad y, n.; pl. {Toadies}. [Shortened from toadeater.] 1. A mean flatterer; a toadeater; a sycophant. [1913 Webster] Before I had been standing at the window five minutes, they somehow conveyed to me that they were all toadies and humbugs.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Toady — Toad y, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Toadied}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Toadying}.] To fawn upon with mean sycophancy. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • toady — index pander, truckle Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • toady — (n.) servile parasite, 1826, apparently shortened from toad eater fawning flatterer (1742), originally referring to the assistant of a charlatan, who ate a toad (believed to be poisonous) to enable his master to display his skill in expelling the …   Etymology dictionary

  • toady — ► NOUN (pl. toadies) ▪ a person who behaves obsequiously towards others. ► VERB (toadies, toadied) ▪ act obsequiously. ORIGIN said to be from toad eater, a charlatan s assistant who ate toads (regarded as poisonous) as a demonstration of the… …   English terms dictionary

  • toady — I UK [ˈtəʊdɪ] / US [ˈtoʊdɪ] noun [countable] Word forms toady : singular toady plural toadies showing disapproval someone who pretends to like a rich or important person in order to get some advantage from them II UK [ˈtəʊdɪ] / US [ˈtoʊdɪ] verb… …   English dictionary

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