One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A sycophantic or obsequious person.
- ‘It branded him 'profligate', 'underbred', a 'modern tuft hunter', and 'as completely a Plebeian in his mind as he is in his rank and station in society'.’
- ‘Indeed, he had been reproached by his more bohemian brothers of the brush for being something of a tuft hunter - most unjustly.’
- ‘There are, it is true, toadies and tuft hunters among boys as among men.’
Mid 18th century: originally used with reference to the ‘tufts’ or gold tassels formerly worn by titled Oxbridge undergraduates.
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