a helpful partner


sidekick = Handlanger, Kumpan, Kumpel



“Jail Time? Trump’s SIDEKICK Steve Bannon surrenders to panel amid growing coup evidence.”

Yahoo News (12 July 2022)

“China’s President Xi Jinping designates some SIDEKICKS – The new vice-president is a firefighter; the new deputy prime minister a brainbox.”

The Economist (22 March 2018)


Did you

noun (informal)

- a person’s assistant or close associate, especially one who has less authority than that person

- someone’s sidekick is a person who accompanies them and helps them, and who is usually considered to be less intelligent or less important than the other person

- a person closely associated with another as a subordinate or partner

Oxford Dictionaries / Collins Dictionary / Merriam-Webster


Sidekick has its origins in the more obvious American colloquialism, side-partner, meaning a colleague, counterpart, buddy, mate, or opposite number, and dates back at least to the 1850s, probably earlier:

“We think that the evidence establishes the charges, and the excuse of Mahon cannot be received as sufficient, as he should have notified his side-partner in case he was taken sick on his post.”

New York Daily-Times, 19 April, 1854

The side part is easy enough to explain. It meant a person who was literally at one’s side. The most likely source for the second part is an old sense of kick, meaning to walk or wander, or to kick around or kick about, or hang around. Those are recorded in the US from the 1830s. So a sidekicker, later a sidekick, was a friend you kicked around with.


One day in 1886, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a short story introducing a certain “Sherringford Holmes" and his sidekick "Ormond Sacker".

After further experimentation, Doyle renamed the detectives, who soon became famous as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

By the way, mail is still regularly sent to Sherlock Holmes’s fictional address at 221b Baker Street, London.


- an assistant to another person, especially to a superior or more important person

accomplice, acolyte, adjutant, aide, aide-de-camp, assistant, associate, auxiliary, bedfellow, best bud(dy), best friend, bestie, best mate, best pal, blood brother (sister), bosom buddy (chum, friend), bro, brother, bruv, bruvver, buddy, business associate, co-conspirator (-founder, -mate, -owner, -partner, co-worker), compadre, companion, compatriot, comrade, comrade-in-arms, confederate, confidant(e), confrère, constant companion (friend), crony, deputy, fellow traveller, helpmate, henchman, kissing cousin, lackey, lieutenant, main man, man Friday, number two, partner (in crime), personal assistant (PA), right hand, right-hand man/woman (person), running mate, second-in-command, SIDEKICK, underling, wingman

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“You'll often find SIDEKICKS accompanying prominent people."

HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:


Paul Smith, IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40

More Word Quizzes: