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

Definition of sycophancy

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

Examples of sycophancy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web 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 While some of the news hours have a rightward bent, the anchors generally don't display the pro-Trump sycophancy that's a signature feature of Fox's opinion programs. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Trump thinks Fox News isn't doing enough to promote his presidency," 28 Aug. 2019 In truth, the press’s current sycophancy rises from a hinterland of intimidation, trimming and currying favour dating back to Mr Modi’s rise to national power in 2014. The Economist, "When India’s government abuses power, the media cheer," 22 Aug. 2019 Still, sycophancy is an effective path to favor with any President, especially this one. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "“Congratulations Again, Mr. President”: Trump and the Co-opting of the G.O.P.," 12 July 2019 Worse, the president’s need for flattery and his base’s intense defensiveness combine to make public sycophancy the only reliable proof of loyalty. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "Revelations in Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury Aren’t News inside the Beltway," 10 Jan. 2018 His characterization has been filtered though Mike Leigh rigor rather than Masterpiece Theatre sycophancy. Armond White, National Review, "The Greatest Showman," 19 Jan. 2018

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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Time Traveler for sycophancy

Time Traveler

The first known use of sycophancy was in 1637

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Statistics for sycophancy

Last Updated

8 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sycophancy.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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