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'Sycophant': Vice President Pence provides teachable moment for Dictionary.com

Vice President Mike Pence arrives for the weekly Senate Republican Caucus luncheons on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 12, 2017.Pence’s planned visit to the Middle East before Christmas was canceled: he planned to meet with Christian leaders but several canceled after President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Pete Marovich / copyright 2017 The New York Times)

This week's passage of the Republican's tax bill was largely seen as a major legislative victory for President Donald Trump. In a meeting of cabinet members Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence got right down to business singing his boss's praises.

In a three-minute speech, the vice president gushed about Trump's accomplishments once every 12 seconds, as The Washington Post pointed out. Pence's pep talk included memorable praise such as telling Trump he has "unleashed American energy," "signed more bills rolling back federal red tape than any president in American history," "restored American credibility on the world stage," and that the president "got Congress to do what they couldn't do for seven years, in repealing the individual mandate in Obamacare."

Pence's speech was fodder for plenty of eye-rolling and jokes online, including from an unlikely source - Dictionary.com.

"There's a word for a person who would praise someone every 12 seconds," the site's Twitter account posted Thursday, before linking to the dictionary's entry for "sycophant." The tweet ended with the hashtags "VP" and "Pence."

A sycophant, according to Dictionary.com, is a noun referring to a "self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite." Synonyms, it went on, include "toady, yes man, flunky, fawner, flatterer."

Dictionary.com - which bills itself as the "world's leading digital dictionary" - has actually been a fairly regular and occasionally snarky critic of the Trump administration and the president's own word choice. In late November, the site jokingly announced the word of the year would be "covfefe," the confusing non-word Trump tweeted out in May. "JUST KIDDING" the Dictionary.com tweet went on, before announcing "complicit" as the actual 2017 winner - a choice with its own political overtones.

The web site's Twitter account often bounces off the latest news, parsing the word choice of the president and administration officials.

Dictionary.com tweeted "No, #POTUS didn't invent the word 'yuge.' #ItsANewYorkThing#FuhGeddaboutit"

Dictionary.com tweeted "Vulnerable: Capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon. Also vulnerable: Language.#CDC"

Dictionary.com tweeted "Well, actually bigly IS a real word, whether @RealDonaldTrump said it or not. #POTUS"

This article was written by Kyle Swenson of the Washington Post.

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