Etymology: In the year 1537 from sycophanta, sÈcophanta (meaning "informer", "talebearer", "trickster" or "slanderer"), from Greek (sykophantes) originally meaning "one who shows the fig", from the word sykon ("fig") + phanein (meaning "to show"). The gesture of "showing the fig" was a vulgar one, whom was made by sticking the thumb between two fingers, a display which vaguely resembles a fig, which is itself symbolic of a cunt (sykon also meant "vulva"). The story behind this etymology is that that politicians in ancient Greece steered clear of displaying that vulgar gesture, but urged their followers sub rosa to taunt their opponents by using it.
- One who uses compliments to gain self-serving favor or advantage from another.
- One who seeks to gain through the powerful and influential.
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Full Definition of sycophant