\ ˈtō-dē How to pronounce toady (audio) \
plural toadies

Definition of toady

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one who flatters in the hope of gaining favors : sycophant


toadied; toadying

Definition of toady (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to behave as a toady : engage in sycophancy

Other Words from toady


toadyism \ ˈtō-​dē-​ˌi-​zəm How to pronounce toady (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for toady


parasite, sycophant, toady, leech, sponge mean a usually obsequious flatterer or self-seeker. parasite applies to one who clings to a person of wealth, power, or influence or is useless to society. a jet-setter with an entourage of parasites sycophant adds to this a strong suggestion of fawning, flattery, or adulation. a powerful prince surrounded by sycophants toady emphasizes the servility and snobbery of the self-seeker. cultivated leaders of society and became their toady leech stresses persistence in clinging to or bleeding another for one's own advantage. a leech living off his family and friends sponge stresses the parasitic laziness, dependence, and opportunism of the cadger. a shiftless sponge, always looking for a handout


fawn, toady, truckle, cringe, cower mean to behave abjectly before a superior. fawn implies seeking favor by servile flattery or exaggerated attention. waiters fawning over a celebrity toady suggests the attempt to ingratiate oneself by an abjectly menial or subservient attitude. toadying to his boss truckle implies the subordination of oneself and one's desires or judgment to those of a superior. truckling to a powerful lobbyist cringe suggests a bowing or shrinking in fear or servility. a cringing sycophant cower suggests a display of abject fear in the company of threatening or domineering people. cowering before a bully

Did you know?

We can thank old-time toadeaters for toady. In 17th-century Europe, a toadeater was a showman's assistant whose job was to make the boss look good. The toadeater would eat (or pretend to eat) what were supposed to be poisonous toads. The charlatan in charge would then "save" the toad-afflicted assistant by expelling the poison. It's little wonder that such assistants became symbolic of extreme subservience, and that toadeater became a word for any obsequious underling. By the early 1800s, it had been shortened and altered to toady, our current term for a servile self-seeker. By the mid-1800s, toady was also being used as a verb meaning "to engage in sycophancy."

Examples of toady in a Sentence

Noun She's a real toady to the boss. no one liked the office toady, who spent most of her time complimenting the boss on what a great job he was doing Verb He's always toadying to the boss. a satirical novel about an amoral go-getter who toadies his way to the top of the corporate ladder
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Polls show Newsom could be recalled in less than three weeks and a Trump toady installed in his place. Seth Liss, Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2021 Unlike other directorate heads, the majority of whom could be sorted in a Venn diagram between toady and sadist with broad overlap, Ivan was inherently good-natured. Ew Staff,, 11 May 2021 Nowadays Wolf’s posts generate pages of comments denouncing him as a fascist and the toady of an authoritarian president-- or praising him as a loyal Trump soldier. Nick Miroff And Josh Dawsey, Washington Post, 3 Aug. 2020 Farrow’s walking ego Gaston bursts into the theater from the lobby, trailed as ever by his pal — some would say toady — Lefou (Michael Parisi). Deborah Martin,, 18 July 2019 To liken patients to cowering toadies is to patronize them. Kevin Canfield, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 May 2018 Much of the comedy comes from watching Stalin’s toadies jockey for power in his absence, but the film really connects as a strange — and yet somehow amusing — glimpse of how fear penetrates a totalitarian society down to the bone. Sean Illing, Vox, 27 Mar. 2018 Set in 1887, the movie finds Dench's Queen Victoria bent and wizened, an octogenarian who has outlived most of her contemporaries and has little use for the toadies around her. Brian Lowry, CNN, 22 Sep. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And snobs are accused of toadying to aristocratic types. P.j. O'rourke, Town & Country, 15 Sep. 2016 Instead, most of the film’s first half is devoted to the father’s toadying to his armed superiors while always trying to find a little stray stash for himself. Todd Mccarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 May 2018 For most of the action, the title character is in a coma and we are tossed into the frenzies of the toadying Soviet officials hoping to succeed him. Frank Rich, Daily Intelligencer, 1 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'toady.' 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 toady


1826, in the meaning defined above


circa 1859, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for toady


by shortening & alteration from toadeater

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Dictionary Entries Near toady

toadstool disease



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Last Updated

14 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Toady.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for toady



English Language Learners Definition of toady

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who praises and helps powerful people in order to get their approval



English Language Learners Definition of toady (Entry 2 of 2)

: to try to get the approval of someone powerful by saying and doing helpful and friendly things that are not sincere : to be a toady

More from Merriam-Webster on toady

Nglish: Translation of toady for Spanish Speakers


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