Sycophant(redirected from hanger-on)
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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.