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

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 Ready Player One takes this geek sycophancy to an entirely new level. Ryan Smith, Chicago Reader, "Arts / Small Screen / The Internet By villainizing nerdy fanboys, Black Mirror's Star Trek parody goes where no show has gone before," 8 Jan. 2018 Yet the past week has seen an explosion of sycophancy toward China’s leader, after his mammoth three-and-a-half-hour speech kicked off proceedings last Wednesday. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "China’s leader elevated to the level of Mao in Communist pantheon," 24 Oct. 2017

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sycophancy

Statistics for sycophancy

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sycophancy

The first known use of sycophancy was in 1637

See more words from the same year

Comments on sycophancy

What made you want to look up sycophancy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!