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Botticelli's illustration of Dante's Inferno shows insincere flatterers grovelling in excrement in the second pit of the eighth circle.[1]

Sycophancy[2] is flattery that is very obedient, or an indication of deference to another, to an excessive or servile degree. A user of sycophancy is referred to as a sycophant or, more commonly, a "yes-man".

Alternative phrases are often used such as:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Italian culture, 15, American Association of University Professors of Italian, 1997, p. 80 
  2. ^ Alphons Silbermann, translator Ladislaus Loeb (2000), Grovelling and other vices: the sociology of sycophancy, Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-485-11544-4 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of sycophancy at Wiktionary