A person who behaves obsequiously in order to advance their own interests; a sycophant.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Sycophant, toady, fawner, flatterer, bootlicker, brown-noser, obsequious person, yes-man, minion.


Independent, nonconformist, individualist, maverick, dissenter.

Word Forms

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

Example Sentences

  • The new employee quickly became known as the boss’s lickspittle, always eager to please and gain favor.

  • Many politicians surround themselves with lickspittles who flatter and cater to their every need.

  • The CEO’s constant praise of her subordinates soon became transparent and they saw her as a phony lickspittle.

  • The young intern eagerly cleaned the boss’s office every day, hoping to be seen as a loyal lickspittle and earn a promotion.


Lickspittle is a derogatory term used to describe a person who behaves in a subservient, ingratiating manner to those in power, in hopes of gaining favor, promotions or other types of benefits. The word has a negative connotation and is often used to criticize those who lack critical thinking or independent opinions and blindly follow and flatter their superiors.

The origin of the word is unclear, but it is believed to have come from the phrase “licking the spittle,” which referred to the act of eagerly and subserviently cleaning the spittle of someone else. The word can be used as a noun, as in “he’s a lickspittle,” or an adjective, as in “her lickspittle behavior was hard to ignore.”

There are no prefixes, suffixes or other variations of the word lickspittle. However, the word can be used in combination with other words and phrases to further emphasize the servile behavior, such as “pathetic lickspittle,” “sycophantic lickspittle” or “bootlicking lickspittle.”

Overall, the word lickspittle is a strong and vivid way to express criticism of a person’s behavior. It conveys the idea of fawning and servile behavior in a memorable and impactful way, making it a useful term in many contexts.