Sycophant

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Maybe loving our OB's more is best - not sycophantically "yessing" them or covering up, but treating them as humans and expecting the same.
August 9, 2007, barely 14 months after this speech, the greatest financial disaster since the great depression of the 1930s was upon us; caused by those same men and women that he addressed and sycophantically eulogised.
He is far too much of a journalist pro to reveal his sources, but I strongly suspect that the "influential people" egging on Mr Warman are the same people who since 2004 have been happy to snipe behind the scenes at Tory council leader Mike Whitby, but sycophantically cosy up to him in public.
The episode was a little too sycophantically gushing about Madonna's talents - the good thing about Glee is its sarcastic tone and sharp one-liners - but let's hope rumours of a sequel are true.
Talents such as giggling sycophantically while Ronnie Corbett - small man, tall stories - tells yet another interminable anecdote about a charity golf day in 1974 with Ringo Starr, Jimmy Tarbuck and Idi Amin.
We are at war under a Labour Government which sycophantically suckles up to the USA, and sends our young men and women to die due to their insufficient numbers and poor equipment.
And when he said: ``It has just ruined me,''a commentator sycophantically responded: ``Nonsense,Home Secretary,it has just been the making of you.''
And Catherine - you looked like a flamingo [standing too long on one leg].' Most of Storm titter sycophantically, while Becky and Catherine study their boots.
sycophantically deferential to everybody who has ever published on
Gina Kolata's acting as a near clone of the FDA in sycophantically echoing the whims of the pharmaceutical industry has been noted by many of us in the medical community.
New Labour, I'm afraid, seem to spend all their time sycophantically spinning pretty images and courting celebrities.
In Czechoslovakia all that remained of Vladimir Clementis was his hat, sycophantically loaned to Comrade Gottwald for a team photo of the Politburo.