parasite

parasite, sycophant, favorite, toady, lickspittle, bootlicker, hanger-on, leech, sponge, sponger all signify a person who is supported or sustained or seeks support or sustenance, usually physical but sometimes social or intellectual, from another without right or justification.
Parasite applies primarily to a person who as a matter of policy is supported more or less by another and gives nothing in return, but it is often extended to anyone who clings to a person of wealth, power, or influence in order to derive personal advantage or who is useless and unnecessary to society
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the ones who evade the earth and live upon the others in some way they have devised. They are the parasites, and they are the despised— Buck

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a court society ridden with parasites

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as our present society disintegrates, this démodé figure will become clearer; the Bohemian, the outsider, the parasite, the rat—one of those figures which have at present no function either in a warring or peaceful world— Forster

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the poorer citizens were little more than parasites, fed with free state bread, amused by free state shows— Buchan

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Sycophant applies to one who clings to a person of wealth, power, or influence and wins or tries to win his favor by fawning, flattery, or adulation
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a man who rose in this world because he curried favor, a sycophantKenneth Roberts

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sycophants who kept him from wholesome contact with reality, who played upon his overweening conceit and confirmed him in his persecutional manias— Overstreet

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Favorite applies to a close associate or intimate of a king or noble who is unduly favored by him, especially with power; it may suggest parasitism or sycophancy on the part of the one favored and often connotes the exerting of undue or improper influence
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huge grants of land to court favorites— W. C. Ford

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reduced to the ranks every officer who had a good record and appointed scoundrelly favorites of his own in their places— Graves

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Pharaoh, his family and his favorites—J. E. M. White

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Toady, often interchangeable with sycophant, stresses more the servility and snobbery of the social climber
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he preens himself in the velvet coat, he spies out the land and sees that the Dowager is "the one"; he becomes the perfect toadyStevie Smith

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this induced a sharp distaste for the flagrant political plunder, the obscene scramble for the loaves and fishes by the spoilsmen and their toadiesSidney Warren

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Lickspittle and bootlicker are interchangeable in common speech with sycophant and toady, implying, however, even stronger contemptibleness Characterized those who disagreed as lickspittles and toadies of official whiggery— Asahel Bush)
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a'lickspittle humility that went beyond flattery— Moorehead

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its principal characters were stupid and bemused commanders, or vicious bootlickers tainted with homosexuality— Sutton

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Hanger-on applies to someone who is regarded, usually contemptuously, as adhering to or depending unduly on another especially for favors
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there were the hangers-on who might be called domestics by inheritance— Ybarra

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a hanger-on at Court, waiting for the preferment that somehow eluded him— Times Lit. Sup.

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those rather hangers-on than friends, whom he treated with the cynical contempt that they deserved— Graves

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Leech stresses the persistence of clinging to or bleeding another for one's own advantage
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hatred for the freeloader or deadbeat. Yet, as a student of humanity, he tolerated these leechesMaule & Cane

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leeches . . . hateful parasites feeding upon the blood of artists!— Robertson Davies

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Sponge and sponger stress a parasitic laziness, dependence, and indifference to the discomforts caused and usually a certain pettiness and constant regard for opportunities to cadge
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all social sponges; all satellites of the court; all beggars of the marketplace— Drummond

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a girl whose disappointment with the world has made her the prey of an unsuccessful crook and sponger—Times Lit. Sup.

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Analogous words: fawner, cringer, truckler (see corresponding verbs at FAWN)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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