A person who behaves in a subservient or excessively obedient manner towards someone else, often for personal gain or advancement.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



sycophant, toady, flatterer, yes-man, lackey, fawner, groveller, ass-kisser, brown-noser, flunky, lickspittle, doormat, puppet, minion, underling, hanger-on.


Independent, self-reliant, self-sufficient, assertive, self-assured, confident, strong-willed, principled, self-respecting, self-reliant.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun bootlicker, bootlickers
Verb bootlicked, bootlicking, bootlicks, bootlick
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • She quickly rose through the ranks by becoming the boss’s favorite bootlicker, always flattering him and doing whatever he wanted.

  • I can’t stand people who are constantly trying to kiss up to those in power; they’re nothing but bootlickers.

  • His constant flattery and yes-man attitude made it obvious that he was nothing more than a bootlicker trying to gain favor with the wealthy businessman.

  • The politician’s supporters were all bootlickers, praising every move he made and never questioning his decisions or motives.


Bootlicker is a common term used to describe a person who behaves in an excessively obedient or subservient manner towards someone else, often for personal gain or advancement. The word is typically used in a negative context to describe someone who is seen as a sycophant or lackey, always trying to flatter or please those in power.

The word itself is composed of the base word ‘boot’ and the suffix ‘-licker’, which is added to create a noun that describes a person who is constantly kissing up to someone else. The term dates back to the 16th century and was originally used to describe a person who cleaned or polished the boots of a powerful figure. Over time, the term ‘bootlicker’ became a figurative expression used to describe someone who was subservient or obsequious.

While the term ‘bootlicker’ can be used to describe someone in many different contexts, it is most commonly used in the workplace, politics, or other hierarchical environments to describe a person who is eager to please their superiors. This might include someone who works overtime without being paid, always agrees with their boss, or is constantly trying to curry favor with those in power. While some people may see this behavior as strategic or necessary, others view it as unethical or even shameful.

Overall, the term ‘bootlicker’ is a powerful way to describe someone who is always trying to please someone else in order to gain personal advantage. Whether you are trying to criticize a coworker who is brown-nosing or describe a politician who is pandering to voters, the word ‘bootlicker’ is a potent and evocative way to capture the essence of this behavior.