sy·​co·​phan·​cy ˈsi-kə-fən(t)-sē How to pronounce sycophancy (audio)
 also  ˈsī-,
: obsequious flattery
also : the character or behavior of a sycophant

Examples of sycophancy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Jürgen Voller lacks distinction as a villain, possessing neither the naked ambition of Belloq (Paul Freeman) from Raiders or the self-serving sycophancy of Walter Donovan (Julian Glover) in Last Crusade. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 16 June 2023 As for Russia, another reset was impossible after Putin’s meddling in the 2016 Presidential election and four years of Trump’s open sycophancy. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 9 Oct. 2023 Impatient with the annoying sides of the great fame that had settled upon him, adult sycophancy, loss of privacy, etc., and yet immeasurably patient and kind to starstruck kids so excited to see their hero. Elizabeth Leonard, Peoplemag, 14 June 2023 This requires varying degrees of sycophancy. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2021 If nothing else, the hypocritical bashing of Biden for holding a summit with Putin is a reminder that, as much as Trump sycophancy is the new normal for the Republican Party, the old normal of attacking Democrats as soft on Russia is still around, too. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 16 June 2021 As if there wasn’t already enough at stake in the 2020 election, the dream of a professionalized civil service without cronyism or sycophancy now also appears to be on the table. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 22 Oct. 2020 At times this admiring but uninspired making-of movie feels like the cinematic equivalent of the Karl/Marlene character: fawning to the point of sycophancy. Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post, 31 Aug. 2022 Your new book’s big theme is sycophancy in our politics. Gal Beckerman, The Atlantic, 13 July 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sycophancy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1637, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sycophancy was in 1637

Dictionary Entries Near sycophancy

Cite this Entry

“Sycophancy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

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