Wednesday, July 25, 2007


1. an obsequious flatterer; sycophant. –verb (used with object)
2. to be the toady to. –verb (used without object)
3. to be a toady.

[Origin: 1680–90; toad + -y2] —Related forms
toad·y·ish, adjective
toad·y·ism, noun

—Synonyms 1. fawner, yes man, parasite, apple polisher. Unabridged (v 1.1)Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

Word History: The earliest recorded sense (around 1690) of toady is "a little or young toad," but this has nothing to do with the modern usage of the word. The modern sense has rather to do with the practice of certain quacks or charlatans who claimed that they could draw out poisons. Toads were thought to be poisonous, so these charlatans would have an attendant eat or pretend to eat a toad and then claim to extract the poison from the attendant. Since eating a toad is an unpleasant job, these attendants came to epitomize the type of person who would do anything for a superior, and toadeater (first recorded 1629) became the name for a flattering, fawning parasite. Toadeater and the verb derived from it, toadeat, influenced the sense of the noun and verb toad and the noun toady, so that both nouns could mean "sycophant" and the verb toady could mean "to act like a toady to someone."

toady (n.)
"servile parasite," 1826, apparently shortened from toad-eater "fawning flatterer" (1742), originally referring to the assistant of a charlatan, who ate a toad (believed to be poisonous) to enable his master to display his skill in expelling the poison (1629). The verb is recorded from 1827.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper


Chris said...

It's hard to fathom someone competing with Dubya for the "most unwarranted smugness" award, but Gonzo's giving him a run for his money.

Bubs said...

I still haven't seen the footage from yesterday's appearance at the Senate. Just hearing clips on the radio, driving home, was enough to make me crazy.

Dino aka Katy said...

yeah English 101 I love learning new words

Mizbubs said...

Chris, I must address your use of the name "Gonzo" for Alberto Gonzales. Gonzo is a noble name, with a rich history. I refer, of course, to Doctor Gonzo, the founder of Gonzo journalism. (God rest his soul) And let us always remember Gonzo, the furry little puppet from the Muppet show. So, let's all fight against this unjust, even shameful besmirching of the regal name, "GONZO".

So what should we call Mr. Gonzales? How about Bushes' Little Prince Albert? (no offense to those with genital piercings).

Erik Donald France said...

This dude -- like most in the current regime -- is a clown, fool, idiot, imbecile, dumbass, loser, etc.

What are we waiting for?

Danny Tagalog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danny Tagalog said...

I've got a 1933 OED with me, and the original citation

(Satire in 'Kirkton' Hist.Ch. Scotl.- c.1690)

1. A little or young toad
"Beastly bodies, senseless nodies, venemous todies."

2. A servile parasite; a sycophant, an interested flatterer: also, a humble dependent

Disraeli-(1826): "You know what a Toadey is? That agreeable animal which you meet in civilised society."

Interestingly, there is a similar meaning in 'TOAD=EATER'. Apart from the obvious meaning, a secondary meaning also means 'a fawning flatterer, a sycophant, paraside.'

1859: Green - "Shabbily-genteel toad-eaters, ready at his call."

Later entries reveal that 'toad-eater' has also meant a 'female companion'!!!! Errr...


Yes, what are you waiting for? Those toads are dragging you further down down....


Johnny Yen said...

Bush apparently values personal loyalty above all-- including ability to do the job (like, say, heading up FEMA). Bush has surrounded himself with sycophants and toadies and gotten the predictable results. Too bad we've been taken along for the ride as well.

Johnny Yen said...

And speaking of snakes, did you see the article in Tuesday's New York Times about pet python's released into the Everglades causing problems? As if Florida needed more reptile problems.

Doc said...

Damn Dude! I like coming by the compound. I learn stuff.