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?
When truckle was first used in English in the 15th century, it meant "small wheel" or "pulley." Such small wheels were often attached to the underside of low beds, to allow them to be easily moved under high beds for storage. These beds came to be known as truckle beds (or trundle beds), and a verb truckle - meaning "to sleep in a truckle bed" - came into being. By the 17th century, the fact that truckle beds were pushed under larger standard beds had inspired a figurative sense of truckle: "to yield to the wishes of another" or "to bend obsequiously." The initial verb meaning became obsolete; the newer sense is fairly rare but is still in use.
Examples of truckle in a Sentence
the kind of guy who truckles to anyone who has even a suspicion of money
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'truckle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.