Sycophant

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Sycophant

 

in the apparent original usage of the word in ancient Greece, a person who informed on the illegal export of figs from Attica. As early as the second half of the fifth century B.C. the word “sycophant” had entered everyday speech and acquired a broader meaning. In Athens and other Greek poleis it was applied to professional informers, slanderers, and blackmailers who gathered compromising information on influential citizens in order to bring them to court and thus settle political scores or receive a bribe or part of the property confiscated from the convicted person.

REFERENCCE

Lofberg.J.O. Sycophancy in Athens. Chicago, 1917.
References in classic literature ?
He was no longer free in mind, and by degrees he became a mere hanger-on of Government, selling the support of his pen to whichever party was in power.
The thoughts of living on, year after year, at the Grove - a hanger-on upon mamma and Walter, a mere cumberer of the ground (now that I know in what light they would regard it), is perfectly intolerable; I would rather run away with the butler.
He sat quite still and tried to think calmly, tried to piece together in his mind the sequence of events which had brought him to this part of the world and which had led to his remaining where he was, an undesired hanger-on at the threshold of Miles Fentolin.