A person who tries to gain favor with someone in a position of authority by flattering or attempting to please them excessively.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



flatterer, sycophant, toady, brown-noser, bootlicker, ass-kisser, kiss-up, yes-man, fawner, groveler.


critic, detractor, adversary, opponent, enemy, disapprover, fault-finder.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun None
Verb None
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • Tom is always hanging around the boss, acting like an apple-polisher, in hopes of getting a promotion.

  • The new employee seemed to think that being an apple-polisher was the best way to get on the good side of his colleagues.

  • Many politicians have been known to surround themselves with apple-polishers who tell them only what they want to hear.

  • The teacher quickly saw through the apple-polishing efforts of the student who was trying to get a better grade on the project.


The word “apple-polisher” is a noun which carries a negative connotation, and is used to describe someone who tries to gain favor with a person in a position of authority, often through excessive flattery or pleasing behavior. The term is derived from the practice of polishing apples to make them appear more appetizing, and is often used to imply that the person in question is acting in a disingenuous or insincere manner.

The prefix “apple” in “apple-polisher” is used to indicate the act of flattery or currying favor, whereas the word “polisher” refers to the way in which the person is attempting to accomplish this goal. This word can also be used with a few suffix variations, such as “apple-polishing” or “apple-polished,” to describe a person or situation where someone is attempting to curry favor or gain an advantage.

In more recent times, the term has been expanded to include online behavior, where people often try to ingratiate themselves with others through excessive praise or support in order to gain followers or likes on social media. The term has also been applied to various situations, including politics, business, and even social situations where people may try to use flattery or pleasing behavior to advance their own interests.

Overall, the word “apple-polisher” is used to describe a particular type of individual who seeks to gain favor or special treatment by flattering those in authority. It is often a pejorative term used to describe a person who is viewed as insincere or lacking in integrity.