• Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Toadeater A fawning, obsequious parasite; a mean sycophant; a flatterer; a toady. "You had nearly imposed upon me, but you have lost your labor. You're too zealous a toadeater , and betray yourself."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • toadeater A mountebank's boy who ate, or pretended to eat, toads (supposed to be poison-ous), in order to give his master an opportunity to show his skill in expelling poison.
    • toadeater A fawning, obsequious parasite; a mean sycophant; a toady.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Said to be so called in allusion to an old alleged practice among mountebanks' boys of eating toads (popularly supposed to be poisonous), in order that their masters might have an opportunity of pretending to effect a cure. The French equivalent expression is un avaleur de couleuvres,. Cf. Toady


In literature:

Then my Lord March called upon the duke, who stood in the midst of an army of his toadeaters.
"Richard Carvel, Complete" by Winston Churchill