sycophant

2 of 2

adjective

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun sycophant differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of sycophant are leech, parasite, sponge, and toady. While all these words mean "a usually obsequious flatterer or self-seeker," sycophant adds to this a strong suggestion of fawning, flattery, or adulation.

a powerful prince surrounded by sycophants

In what contexts can leech take the place of sycophant?

While the synonyms leech and sycophant are close in meaning, leech stresses persistence in clinging to or bleeding another for one's own advantage.

a leech living off his family and friends

When is it sensible to use parasite instead of sycophant?

The words parasite and sycophant can be used in similar contexts, but 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

When is sponge a more appropriate choice than sycophant?

Although the words sponge and sycophant have much in common, sponge stresses the parasitic laziness, dependence, and opportunism of the cadger.

a shiftless sponge, always looking for a handout

Where would toady be a reasonable alternative to sycophant?

While in some cases nearly identical to sycophant, toady emphasizes the servility and snobbery of the self-seeker.

cultivated leaders of society and became their toady

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Cite this Entry

“Sycophant.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/sycophant. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

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