from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A fawning underling; a toady.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun by extension The practice of giving empty flattery for personal gain.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

A compounding: lick ("pass one’s tongue over") + spittle ("saliva"); the verb may derive by back-formation from the nominal derivation lickspittling (see below).


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word lickspittle.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • this word is so gross.

    March 3, 2007

  • I agree. I'd rather call someone an abject flatterer (dictionary definition).

    March 3, 2007

  • My daughters use this word to describe our kitten when she licks the inside of her bed, as if she is nursing from her mother. We had no idea it was used another way!

    February 4, 2015