Definition of lackey in English:



  • 1A servant, especially a liveried footman or manservant.

    ‘lackeys were waiting to help them from the carriage’
    • ‘Voltaire, despite gaining renown as the greatest living French playwright while still in his twenties, endured a long stay in the Bastille, a thorough beating by an offended nobleman's lackeys, and several periods of exile.’
    • ‘And the sorceress Ro sent out a servant boy and her lackey Isamu to go shopping.’
    • ‘It was the morning of his wedding and one could already hear the sound of the Marquise au Fontaine calling out instructions to the lackeys and servants.’
    • ‘When asked who comes with Petruchio, Biondello responds, ‘O, sir, his lackey, for all the world caparisoned like the horse’.’
    • ‘Also present are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the king's unfortunately clueless lackeys and subjects of Tom Stoppard's work Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.’
    • ‘A little while later some of the host's lackeys brought out about a dozen chooks in a long wire cage which they laid in the centre of the table.’
    • ‘But if that looks like the record of loyal family retainers, slaving away un-noticed in the ‘big house’ like some Victorian lackeys, think again.’
    • ‘"Edward must've sent his lackeys to find us, " Aruna mused.’
    • ‘Cypris' lackeys just stood there, speechless, and awaited instructions for what to do.’
    • ‘In July 1702 he was offered the post of organist at Sangerhausen but was thwarted by the reigning duke, who preferred a candidate of his own choice; for several months thereafter he occupied his time as a lackey and violinist at Weimar.’
    • ‘He lived in the great house in Doocastle surrounded by servants, lackeys, and half-sirs who did his bidding without question.’
    • ‘This is a man who treats women like servants and men like lackeys.’
    • ‘No, she wouldn't unleash her rage upon a mere lackey.’
    • ‘Ruby and her lackeys were standing around the alter, Ruby's hands were on the stake, ready to plunge it into her heart.’
    • ‘I would send the lackey after him to let him know if I needed him.’
    • ‘Simon Trinder turns Teodoro's lackey into a bundle of popeyed, inventive energy.’
    • ‘He said: ‘I was the lackey of the team who does the running about for the water bottles and sandwiches, but I also got a brilliant opportunity to ride as part of a racing team competing along my sporting heroes.’’
    • ‘He had to watch himself, had to act like any common, worthless lackey for the sake of self-preservation until he had everything organized and put perfectly into place.’
    • ‘Kerry talks in generalities because he is alone and comes from nowhere and lives among servants and lackeys in hotel rooms.’
    • ‘The original has more than 30 characters plus assorted lackeys, pastry cooks and cadets to help create a vision of life in 17 th-century Paris.’
    servant, flunkey, footman, manservant, valet, liveried servant, steward, butler, equerry, retainer, vassal, page, attendant, houseboy, domestic, drudge, factotum
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    1. 1.1derogatory A person who is obsequiously willing to obey or serve another person.
      ‘he denied that he was the lackey of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury’
      • ‘By the end he sees that in the house of the film star he is regarded as ‘a lackey, a sponger, a pathetic hanger-on’.’
      • ‘Anyway, you're not doing anyone any good by being out of work, even if your old boss is a running dog lackey of the bourgeoisie.’
      • ‘I also lament the fact that we are here in urgency because the toadies and lackeys of the United Future party have decided to sign up to the use of urgency without even testing the questions that they should properly have asked.’
      • ‘They have turned into mere lackeys of big business.’
      • ‘Was I being an agent of change or just another instructional lackey creating ordinary teachers?’
      • ‘He disdains capitalism and free trade, and throughout the campaign accused Yushchenko of being a running-dog lackey of the Yankee imperialists.’
      • ‘The anti-MMR campaign has repeatedly smeared its critics either as stooges of the medical establishment or as lackeys of the vaccine manufacturers (themes which recur in Hear the Silence).’
      • ‘I know Blair has many well paid advisers, but here is a bit of free advice: if you are going to hire a lackey and a yes man, then hire a clever one who understands the importance of subtlety.’
      • ‘Radio stations lend their microphones to these degenerate rappers who start wars on the air that end up affecting all their sycophants, toadies and lackeys who want to keep it real.’
      • ‘If, on the other hand, he jacks up, he is a snivelling traitor, an America hater, a betrayer of Australian business and/or a pawn and lackey of selfish vested interest groups, a man who puts cheap populism ahead of his country.’
      • ‘I am no-one's stooge, lackey or puppet.’
      • ‘King Idris is involved, of course, this place could not exist without his permission, but he is a mere lackey.’
      • ‘Nor does sympathy for what Americans are going through make us capitalist lackeys, stooges of Bush and Blair, or enemies of the Arab world.’
      • ‘Sometimes they are heroes - doctors and engineers cleaning up slums, lawyers fighting for the rights of oppressed minorities; and sometimes they are villains - stooges and lackeys of the ruling class.’
      • ‘I saved you because you and your lackeys over there serve a purpose.’
      • ‘And, this group of people no longer had real power, over real things; they had the power to become lackeys; and to serve as lackeys.’
      • ‘We already have a President and the Rodent is his biggest crawling, lick-spittle lackey.’
      • ‘Such is the life of a corporate lackey.’
      • ‘Am I an elitist bastard running-dog lackey etc for believing that only people who actually care should make the decisions?’
      • ‘He's a stark contrast to the new men in Penelope's life: though Herb fancies himself a man's man, his total admiration of Harold results is his becoming a sycophantic lackey who takes on the role of surrogate wife.’
      toady, flunkey, sycophant, flatterer, minion, doormat, dogsbody, spaniel, stooge, hanger-on, lickspittle, parasite
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  • 2A brownish European moth of woods and hedgerows, the caterpillars of which live communally in a silken tent on the food tree.


[WITH OBJECT]archaic
  • Behave servilely towards; wait on as a lackey.

    ‘he had lackeyed and flattered Walpole’


Early 16th century: from French laquais, perhaps from Catalan alacay, from Arabic al-qā'id the chief.