Etymology
Advertisement

lackey (n.)

1520s, "footman, running footman, valet," from French laquais "foot soldier, footman, servant" (15c.), a word of unknown origin; perhaps from Old Provençal lacai, from lecai "glutton, covetous," from lecar "to lick." The alternative etymology is that it comes via Old French laquay, from Catalan alacay, from Arabic al-qadi "the judge." Yet another guess traces it through Spanish lacayo, from Italian lacchè, from Modern Greek oulakes, from Turkish ulak "runner, courier." This suits the original sense better, but OED says Italian lacchè is from French. Sense of "servile follower" appeared 1580s. As a political term of abuse it dates from 1939 in communist jargon.

updated on December 08, 2020

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of lackey from WordNet

lackey (n.)
a male servant (especially a footman);
Synonyms: flunky / flunkey
lackey (n.)
a person who tries to please someone in order to gain a personal advantage;
Synonyms: sycophant / toady / crawler / ass-kisser
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.