\ 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

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Other Words from toady


toadyism \ ˈtō-​dē-​ˌi-​zəm How to pronounce toadyism (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?


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. His or her charlatan master 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.

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 His Vice-President, Secretary of State, Treasury Secretary, and acting chief of staff are all toadies. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Inevitable Acquittal and the Threat to American Democracy," 1 Feb. 2020 Faced with the prospect that an embarrassingly high percentage of Wisconsin Republicans might reject Trump’s re-election run, the president and his toadies panicked. Washington Post, "Editorial Roundup: Excerpts from recent Wisconsin editorials," 20 Jan. 2020 To be sure, Haspel is not a toady, unlike so many in the administration. Jefferson Morley, The New Republic, "Is the CIA’s Director Going Full MAGA?," 12 Feb. 2020 In their view, parents who permitted vaccination were gullible toadies of status quo medicine. New York Times, "How Anti-Vaccine Sentiment Took Hold in the United States," 23 Sep. 2019 Bill Barr has dropped any pretense of leading a department that is intended to provide justice for the American people and now simply looks like Trump’s toady apprentice. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Awarding the Kavanaugh team now raises questions," 19 Sep. 2019 The book is packed with reluctant sources, emotional interviews, clandestine meetings, impatient editors, secret documents, late-night door knocks, toady lawyers and showdowns with Weinstein himself. Brian Stelter, CNN, "'She Said:' New book recounts the reporting that revealed Harvey Weinstein's abuses," 9 Sep. 2019 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,, "Villains are scene stealers in ‘Matilda,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast’," 18 July 2019 Even before McCain died, however, Graham was already transforming himself into a Trump toady. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Lindsey Graham’s “Achilles Heel”," 9 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And snobs are accused of toadying to aristocratic types. P.j. O'rourke, Town & Country, "P.J. O'Rourke on Why Snobbery Is a Good Thing," 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, "'Buy Me a Gun': Film Review | Cannes 2018," 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, "There’s a Hopeful New Path for Gun Politics in America," 1 Mar. 2018 Meanwhile, Trump has launched a war on the American media and toadied up to strongmen from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and, of course, Xi himself. Charlie Campbell / Beijing, Time, "China’s Lurch Toward One-Man Rule Under Xi Jinping Should Worry Us All," 26 Feb. 2018 But their work is drowned out by the screeching chorus of Trump toadies that dominates Fox's evening and morning schedule., "Fox News has completed its transformation into Trump TV," 8 Aug. 2017

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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Time Traveler for toady

Time Traveler

The first known use of toady was in 1826

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Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Toady.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for toady


How to pronounce toady (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of toady

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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



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

informal + disapproving : 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on toady

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for toady

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with toady

Spanish Central: Translation of toady

Nglish: Translation of toady for Spanish Speakers

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