The word is now generally used in the sense of a cringing flatterer of the great.
There were no poor in his dominions, no thief or robber, no flatterer or miser, no dissensions, no lies, and no vices.
A provision eminently wise for the age of Pericles easily became a mischief when the once honourable name of "demagogue" began to mean a flatterer of the mob.
In this way he is led to regard the sophist successively - (t) as a practitioner of that branch of mercenary persuasion in private which professes to impart " virtue " and exacts payment in the shape of a fee, in opposition to the flatterer who offers pleasure, asking for sustenance in return; (2) as a practitioner of that branch of mental trading which purveys from city to city discourses and lessons about " virtue," in opposition to the artist who similarly purveys discourses and lessons about the arts; (3) and (4) as a practitioner of those branches of mental trading, retail and wholesale, which purvey discourses and lessons about " virtue " within a city, in opposition to the artists who similarly purvey discourses and lessons about the arts; (5) as a practitioner of that branch of eristic which brings to the professor pecuniary emolument, eristic being the systematic form of antilogic, and dealing with justice, injustice and other abstractions, and antilogic being that form of disputation which uses question and answer in private, in opposition to forensic, which uses continuous discourse in the law-courts; (6) as a practitioner of that branch of education which purges away the vain conceit of wisdom by means of crossexamination, in opposition to the traditional method of reproof or admonition.
At court, though no trifler or flatterer, he was a favourite counsellor in three successive reigns, but he never meddled much in civil or temporal affairs.