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sycophants


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A person who acts obsequiously towards someone in order to gain advantage; a servile flatterer. The term is recorded from the mid 16th century, as denoting an informer, especially in ancient Athens; Plutarch suggests that the Greek word sukophantēs ‘informer’ derives from sukon ‘fig’, and refers to the practice of informing against the illegal exportation of figs, but this is not substantiated. The current sense is recorded from the late 16th century.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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