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toad +‎ eater, said to allude to an old alleged practice among mountebanks' boys of eating toads (popularly supposed to be poisonous), so that their masters could pretend to effect a cure. Compare toady.


toadeater ‎(plural toadeaters)

  1. A fawning, obsequious parasite; a mean sycophant or flatterer.
    You're too zealous a toadeater, and betray yourself. — C. Dickens (1844).[1]
    a chaplain, tutor, toadeater, or some superior servant. — J. Wilson (1819).[2]
    A toad eater, a led captain, an humble companion, are appellations which no man, who has a real sense of honour, would chuse to possess; but these are the best names bestowed upon men who spend their lives in courting the great by all arts, but those of virtue and truth. V. Knox (1781). [3]

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.


  1. ^ Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-44), Ch. 24.
  2. ^ Complete Dictionary of Astrology (1819), "Horary Questions", Of Theft.
  3. ^ Winter Evenings or Lucubrations, "On Associating with Equals for the True Pleasure of Friendship.