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 Hannity’s interviews, though, tend to be exercises in Trump sycophancy rather than fact-finding missions. Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post, "The data is in: Fox News may have kept millions from taking the coronavirus threat seriously," 28 June 2020 Meanwhile, the confirmation of John Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence is problematic given his lack of relevant experience and Trump sycophancy. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "Security News This Week: This $350 "Anti-5G" Device Is Apparently Just a USB Stick," 30 May 2020 Now Harrison’s national fundraising pitch stresses Graham’s sycophancy to the president. Paul Bowers, The New Republic, "How Lindsey Graham Could Lose in 2020," 16 Mar. 2020 But his sycophancy was sweetener to a snub: Britain is spurning President Donald Trump’s increasingly strident demands to reimpose sanctions on Iran, siding with European allies over America. The Economist, "Anglo-American relations Johnson, Trump and the future of the Atlantic alliance," 18 Jan. 2020 The Senate majority may be too far gone in sycophancy for the first to apply, but the second is surely (from a Republican perspective) highly desirable. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, "Whatever He Wants," 30 Jan. 2020 The questions are often barely veiled insults, delivered in a mirthless deadpan that’s somewhere between stupidity and sociopathy — the exact opposite of the breezy sycophancy that passes for most late-night banter. Scott Tobias, Washington Post, "How ‘Between Two Ferns’ went from hilariously awkward web series to hilariously awkward Netflix movie," 20 Sep. 2019 The most charitable view of Graham’s sycophancy is that the president has put him and GOP senators in general in a no-win predicament. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "The Senate GOP’s No-Win Scenario," 9 Oct. 2019 Beyond the sycophancy inevitable from the president of a weak country that needs protection against a regional superpower that is occupying part of its territory, the conversation offers some insights into Mr Zelensky’s challenge. The Economist, "Can Volodymyr Zelensky live up to the expectations he has created?," 26 Sep. 2019

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.

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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

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sycophancy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

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