sy·​co·​phan·​cy | \ ˈsi-kə-fən(t)-sē How to pronounce sycophancy (audio) also ˈsī-, -ˌfan(t)- \

Definition of sycophancy

: obsequious flattery also : the character or behavior of a sycophant

Examples of sycophancy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Your new book’s big theme is sycophancy in our politics. Gal Beckerman, The Atlantic, 13 July 2022 The upstart Carlin was sidling uncomfortably close to charging Wengrow with sycophancy or even careerism. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, 11 July 2022 As De Stefano shows, the disorienting effects of fame fostered in her a dependence on sycophancy, but also a paranoid distrust even of her closest acolytes. Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 3 Mar. 2022 According to the playwright, King George was driven mad by the spiritually enervating effects of the sycophancy of his toadying subordinates. Terry Teachout, WSJ, 17 Aug. 2017 Instead, the election devolved into mudslinging and sycophancy. Geeta Anand, New York Times, 23 Mar. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sycophancy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of sycophancy

1637, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sycophancy

sycophan(t) + -cy, after Latin sȳcophantia, borrowed from Greek sȳkophantía, from sȳkophántēs + -ia -ia entry 1

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The first known use of sycophancy was in 1637

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Last Updated

19 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sycophancy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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