Synonym Chooser

How is the word fawn distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of fawn are cower, cringe, toady, and truckle. While all these words mean "to behave abjectly before a superior," fawn implies seeking favor by servile flattery or exaggerated attention.

waiters fawning over a celebrity

When is it sensible to use cower instead of fawn?

The meanings of cower and fawn largely overlap; however, cower suggests a display of abject fear in the company of threatening or domineering people.

cowering before a bully

When might cringe be a better fit than fawn?

While the synonyms cringe and fawn are close in meaning, cringe suggests a bowing or shrinking in fear or servility.

a cringing sycophant

When would toady be a good substitute for fawn?

The synonyms toady and fawn are sometimes interchangeable, but toady suggests the attempt to ingratiate oneself by an abjectly menial or subservient attitude.

toadying to his boss

When is truckle a more appropriate choice than fawn?

Although the words truckle and fawn have much in common, truckle implies the subordination of oneself and one's desires or judgment to those of a superior.

truckling to a powerful lobbyist


Thesaurus Entries Near fawn

Cite this Entry

“Fawn.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/fawn. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

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