Definition of toady in US English:



  • A person who behaves obsequiously to someone important.

    • ‘‘People think us security guards are just stupid, unfeeling corporate toadies, but that's not true,’ he said.’
    • ‘This was a man so obviously lying to himself and others - so obviously acting a part - that not even the toadies and sycophants lined beaming along the front row of the hall could have believed a word of it.’
    • ‘Others claimed that he had improperly mixed religion and politics and had served as a toady of Prime Minister José María Aznar.’
    • ‘You know, the all too familiar signs of smugness, ingratiating habits, or simply the false earnestness and self-satisfaction associated with a testosterone-powered toady.’
    • ‘Should I make some amusing reference to a recent out-of-school meeting, or will the teacher think I'm a toady?’
    • ‘Never has America been so thoroughly in the clutches of fawners, lap dogs, toadies, boot lickers, lick spittles, and Snopses.’
    • ‘Mere subordination is unamusing, and we have a vocabulary that allows us to express our disapproval of people whose aim is nothing else but to please - toady, creep, sycophant, etc., are the correlates of the bully.’
    • ‘She would show Lord William that she was not about to turn into a weepy-faced toady over him.’
    • ‘The principal and her toadies made it seem that our opinions were important and that the reorganisation would not happen if we were dead set against it.’
    • ‘The central development of Cromwell from a timid toady to a towering tyrant is well depicted.’
    • ‘He may have signed off on the idea of creating a youth brigade, and put a gold star in the dossier of the sweating toady who proposed the idea.’
    • ‘I admit he can be fearfully blunt at times, but surely that's better than being a toady?’
    • ‘He was a shameless toady to those above him and a vicious bully to those below him.’
    • ‘He calls it a ‘parasite’, which she learned in school is usually defined as a hanger-on, a toady, a sycophant.’
    • ‘The Chief Coroner could be simply a toady for the department.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘Your little toadies seem a bit pusillanimous,’ she observed laconically, curious to see if he was as smart as they said he was.’
    • ‘Conversely, but equally false, is the image of a toady who curries favor from higher-ups or someone who twists selfsacrifice into a self-serving art form.’
    • ‘Imagine that you and your neighbours have just elected a diverse group of community activists to your city council and school board, tossing out an arrogant clique of corporate toadies in the process.’
    • ‘He was grinning with the expectant air of an ambitious toady as he balanced on his tiptoes.’
    sycophant, obsequious person, creep, crawler, fawner, flatterer, flunkey, lackey, truckler, groveller, doormat, lickspittle, kowtower, minion, hanger-on, leech, puppet, stooge, spaniel, uriah heep
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[no object]
  • Act in an obsequious way.

    ‘she imagined him toadying to his rich clients’
    • ‘Accused of being ‘unprincipled’ by an editor, he replied: ‘I have never toadied, nor lied, nor insulted.’’
    • ‘Being good at service means that we are servile and toadying and demeans our noble island spirit.’
    • ‘The Beard Liberation Front is not doing itself, or its cause, any favours by toadying to those who lack the conviction to sprout a decent set of whiskers and grow the full monty.’
    • ‘How very Scottish not to want to be seen toadying up to someone else's company in public.’
    • ‘After a career spent shamelessly toadying to corporate interests, I will spend my retirement feeding the homeless.’
    • ‘Imagine a dealer who regarded art education with suspicion, never toadied to museum poobahs, and refused to label any painting or sculpture a ‘smart buy.’’
    • ‘He humiliated and cheated the poor peasants, while toadying to landlords and potentates.’
    • ‘Even by the standards of the Victorians, who had a pretty high tolerance level for toadying, this is slimy stuff.’
    • ‘He describes the inner workings of the Persian court where fear of and toadying to the king predominated and how that affected the campaign against Greece.’
    • ‘If they were, he would have toadied to them on Kyoto.’
    • ‘His life is a series of bureaucratic hurdles and toadying.’
    • ‘Pushing for direct links amounts to toadying to capitalists intent on exploiting the China market, and risks the future of this nation's workers.’
    • ‘He has toadied to those, including the Queen, whose affection for him cannot be relied on to last longer than next week's polls.’
    • ‘He will win no plaudits for toadying to London and he has no future in Westminster anyway.’
    • ‘Democracy is not well served by this deliberate polarization of issues, or by toadying to it.’
    • ‘They reckoned it would be quite fatal for their credibility, toadying up to politicians.’
    • ‘The modern free-verse poet Ezra Pound toadied to Mussolini.’
    • ‘By toadying to the royal family of Crim Tartary, she was lady-in-waiting to the young Princess Angelica.’
    • ‘It's a story about jealous and weak leaders toadying up to the current world power to effect the destruction of a source of truth who is troubling their comfort zone.’
    be obsequious towards, be servile towards, be sycophantic towards, grovel to, kowtow to, abase oneself to, demean oneself to, bow and scrape to, prostrate oneself to, truckle to, make up to, play up to, dance attendance on, fawn on, ingratiate oneself with, rub up the right way, curry favour with, flatter, court
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Early 19th century: said to be a contraction of toad-eater, a charlatan's assistant who ate toads; toads were regarded as poisonous, and the assistant's survival was thought to be due to the efficacy of the charlatan's remedy.