In India, there are many grannies' tales that describe a bunch of people around the King who always say, 'yes, your highness, yes'. No matter how worst that idea or opinion of the King is. Let's build a context.

The King is planning to dig a well on a mountain!

I'm planning to dig a well on a mountain nearby our palace. So, whenever I'm up there for my leisure time, I can have water whenever I want. What do you say?

A bunch of [this is the word I'm searching for] replies:

Oh, yes, why not?

Now it's pathetic and foolishness to have a well there. But since they are ____________, they'll say 'yes' to whatever the king says.

A very important note: I know the word 'flatterer'. This is not what I'm looking for. Because these guys don't praise. They just say, 'yes, yes' to anything that the King says.

A typical flatterer will keep on praising the King.

Oh King, what a nice sword you have (though it's rotten!)!

Again, I'm finding a word for those who don't praise/say nice things, they just 'AGREE' whatever their bosses or kings say.

To my mind comes another word: 'flunkey'; but do natives use this that way?

4 Answers 4


There are a few words for this... I think the one that best fits your description is "yes-man":

a person (especially a man) who agrees with everything that someone says : a person who supports the opinions or ideas of someone else in order to earn that person's approval

The first one to come to mind was "toady", which has the added benefit of being a noun and a verb:

Noun: a person who flatters and ingratiates himself or herself in a servile way; sycophant

Verb: to fawn on and flatter (someone)

Sycophant is also a good word:

a person who seeks favor by flattering people of wealth or influence; parasite; toady

There are a bunch of other options, though, including "flunky":

List of synonyms from thesaurus.com for "toady"

  • As I said, I know 'flunky' but +1 for 'toady'.
    – Maulik V
    May 27, 2015 at 9:04
  • @MaulikV I mentioned it because you seemed unsure and had it misspelled.
    – Catija
    May 27, 2015 at 15:17
  • 2
    My first thought was yes-man as well, but upon reflection, it seems like that is almost exclusively used in a business context, or at least in a modern setting. A president might have yes-men, but not a historical king. I really like toady here. Jul 5, 2015 at 3:43
  • Ass-kisser is a nice one and my personal favorite but keep in mind it is much more pejorative and crude than many of the other options.
    – EllieK
    Feb 22, 2021 at 18:26

American usage is "yes-man." Even if the referenced person is female. Though, I do hear occasionally, "yes-woman," to reference a female "yes-man." "Sycophant" is a more formal term, and also more encompassing and less passive than "yes-man"; Is not just blind acquiescence. "Ass-kisser" is much more encompassing and less passive still; Even proactive.


One that is not on the list is used for the same thing in Nigeria where they are called "zombies"

  • 1
    Zombies are usually genetically modified man-eating organisms in my side of the globe. This is certainly an interesting cross-cultural usage of the same word ^_^ Nov 20, 2017 at 9:56
  • You can consider the lyrics of one verse from the famous Nigerian pop-song, "Zombie" by Fela Kuti: Zombie no go go, unless you tell am to go (Zombie) Zombie no go stop, unless you tell am to stop (Zombie) Zombie no go turn, unless you tell am to turn (Zombie) Zombie no go think, unless you tell am to think (Zombie) I should have mentioned in my original post however that this is usually in a political context. Nov 21, 2017 at 12:35


The American Heritage Dictionary defines to acquiesce as: "to consent or comply passively or without protest", thus I consider that the most adequate word to describe them would be acquiescing:

Now it's pathetic and foolishness to have a well there. But since they are acquiescing, they'll say 'yes' to whatever the king says.

  • 1
    "Acquiescing" doesn't directly carry any connotation of dishonesty or favor-currying, so while it's correct, it's not especially descriptive of this particular sort of person. (It's also not a noun, and can't easily be nominalized.) Dec 1, 2018 at 15:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .