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 Politicians will act politically; only offensive is the unusual sycophancy of the U.S. press in covering the Biden administration’s political motives. WSJ, 21 May 2021 But McCarthy, like Pence, has returned to his safe space of Trump sycophancy. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 6 May 2021 Political journalism is impoverished, except for sycophancy and hackery. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 15 Apr. 2021 In a stinging portrait of Berlusconi, Italy’s former prime minister, Ben-Ghiat lays out how his co-option of Italian media and sycophancy toward autocrats established the groundwork for his eventual ouster. Washington Post, 24 Dec. 2020 Online conversation has been curtailed, replaced with orchestrated sycophancy. Kenneth Roth, The New York Review of Books, 14 Jan. 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, 18 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, 20 Sep. 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, 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

1 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sycophancy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2021.

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