Toadeater meaning

tōdētər
(historical) A quack doctor's assistant who pretended to eat toads, etc. as a public demonstration of the efficacy of the doctor's medicines.
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A toady.
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You're too zealous a toadeater, and betray yourself. "” C. Dickens (1844).

A chaplain, tutor, toadeater, or some superior servant. "” J. Wilson (1819).

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).

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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 The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
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Origin of toadeater

  • Originally, a charlatan's helper who ate (or pretended to eat) poisonous toads so that his employer could display his prowess in expelling the poison

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • toad +"Ž 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.

    From Wiktionary