from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A toady.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A fawning, obsequious parasite; a mean sycophant or flatterer.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A fawning, obsequious parasite; a mean sycophant; a flatterer; a toady.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- A mountebank's boy who ate, or pretended to eat, toads (supposed to be poison-ous), in order to give his master an opportunity to show his skill in expelling poison.
- A fawning, obsequious parasite; a mean sycophant; a toady.
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.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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. (Wiktionary)