- The definition of a toady is a person who is a kiss-up or overly flatters someone believed to be important.
A person who is always bringing in gifts for his boss and acting overly solicitous to the boss is an example of a toady.
Origin: short for toadeater, quack doctor's assistant who pretended to eat toads (thought to be poisonous) to show the efficacy of quack medicines
- toadyism noun
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
noun pl. toad·ies
Origin: From toad.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.”