lackey

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Middle French laquais, which is probably (via Old Occitan lacai?) from Spanish lacayo, itself perhaps from Italian lacchè and Greek λακές (lakés), from Turkish ulak. Another possibility is through French, from Catalan alacay, from Arabic اَلْقَاضِي (al-qāḍī, magistrate). See French laquais.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

lackey (plural lackeys)

  1. A footman, a liveried male servant.
    • 1884, John Ruskin, “By the Rivers of Waters”, in “Our Fathers Have Told Us.”: Sketches of the History of Christendom for Boys and Girls who have been Held at Its Fonts, part I (The Bible of Amiens), Orpington, Kent: George Allen, OCLC 222616845, pages 30–31:
      St. Martin [of Tours] looks round, first, deliberately;—becomes aware of a tatterdemalion and thirsty-looking soul of a beggar at his chair side, who has managed to get his cup filled somehow, also—by a charitable lacquey. St. Martin turns his back on the Empress, and hobnobs with him!
  2. A fawning, servile follower; a lickspittle.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

lackey (third-person singular simple present lackeys, present participle lackeying, simple past and past participle lackeyed)

  1. (transitive) To attend, wait upon, serve obsequiously
    • ca. 1607, William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, Act I, sc. 3:
      [T]he ebbed man, ne'er loved till ne'er worth love,
      Comes deared by being lacked. This common body,
      Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream,
      Goes to and back, lackeying the varying tide,
      To rot itself with motion.
    • 1634, John Milton. Comus:
      So dear to Heav'n is Saintly chastity,
      That when a soul is found sincerely so,
      A thousand liveried Angels lacky her ...
  2. (intransitive, obsolete) To toady, play the flunky

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Anagrams[edit]