The modern connotation of "servile follower" appeared later, in 1588 (OED).
There are several theories about the origins of the word. By one theory, it is derived from Medieval French laquais, "foot soldier, footman, servant", ultimately from Turkish ulak, literally "a messenger". The word also exists in German, where Lakai denotes a liveried manservant in the services of a monarch or prince.
Modern Australian use of the term refers to a blue collar working class man who is generally over-worked and under-paid.
Usage in popular culture
Lackey is typically used as a derogatory term for a servant with little or no self-respect who belittles himself in order to gain an advantage. Such advantage is often assumed to be slight, temporary and often illusory.