displaying exaggerated flattery or affection in order to gain favor or advantage.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



obsequious, ingratiating, servile, sycophantic, flattering, toadying, unctuous, smarmy, groveling, cringing, slavish, subservient, bootlicking.


assertive, independent, self-reliant, confident, dignified, unimpressed.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun fawns, fawners, fawn, fawner
Verb fawn, fawned, fawns, fawning
Adjective fawning
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The politician was fawning over his wealthy donors, hoping to secure more campaign contributions.

  • The sycophantic employee was always fawning over the boss, hoping to get a promotion.

  • The journalist accused the celebrity interviewer of fawning over the actor and not asking tough enough questions.

  • The concert goers were fawning over the rock star, hoping to get a selfie or autograph.


The word “fawning” is typically used to describe a person who is excessively flattering or obsequious towards someone else, often in an attempt to win favor or gain some sort of advantage. This can be seen in professional or personal situations, and can apply to anyone from a politician to a friend or colleague.

The root of the word “fawn” comes from the Old English word “fahnian”, which means to rejoice or exult. However, in modern usage, the word is most commonly used with a negative connotation, to describe someone who is insincere or overly eager to please. The suffix “-ing” turns the verb “fawn” into an adjective, describing the act of flattery or obsequiousness itself.

There are some other variations of the word “fawning” that are used in different contexts. For example, “fawn-colored” describes a light yellow or brown color, similar to the color of a young deer’s fur. “Fawn over” is a phrasal verb that means to show excessive affection or admiration towards someone or something, without necessarily implying the negative connotations of fawning insincerity.

Overall, the usage of “fawning” is often seen as undesirable or manipulative, and is associated with insincerity, flattery, and the desire to gain something from the person being fawned over. However, there are some situations where showing appreciation or admiration towards someone is appropriate, and in those cases, “fawning” may not be seen as negative.