A lackey is someone who works for someone else and tries to get ahead by kissing up to his superiors. For example, a lackey might carry his employer's luggage or fetch her cappuccinos.

A lackey can also be a servant who wears a uniform, like a butler, doorman, or valet. Only the richest, grandest, snobbiest families employ lackeys these days. Another name for a lackey is a manservant, who works in a private home serving the needs of his employer — like a maid, but male. From this earliest meaning came the sense of lackey as a "toady" or "sycophant," someone who fawns and flatters in order to get what they want. The word stems from the Middle French laquais, "foot soldier" or "servant."

Definitions of lackey

n a person who tries to please someone in order to gain a personal advantage

ass-kisser, crawler, sycophant, toady
apple polisher, bootlicker, fawner, groveler, groveller, truckler
someone who humbles himself as a sign of respect; who behaves as if he had no self-respect
a person who behaves extremely well in order to please a superior
Type of:
adulator, flatterer
a person who uses flattery

n a male servant (especially a footman)

flunkey, flunky
Type of:
retainer, servant
a person working in the service of another (especially in the household)

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