A “yes-man” (or “yes man") is someone who always agrees with a boss and simply follows orders. The term was popularized by Freeman Tilden (1883-1980), who wrote “The Yes-Man” in the July 1912 Century Magazine. A March 1911 newspaper article described a liars’ club’s “yes-man,” but no additional citations verify the term’s use in liar’s clubs. The cartoonist Thomas Aloysius “TAD” Dorgan (1877-1929) is often credited for “yes-man,” but his cartoon dates to 1913.
“Yes women” has been cited in print since at least 1929.
Wiktionary: yes man
yes man (plural yes men)
1.(idiomatic) A person who always agrees with his employer or superior.
Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
yes–man noun \ˈyes-ˌman\
Definition of YES-MAN
: a person who agrees with everything that is said; especially: one who endorses or supports without criticism every opinion or proposal of an associate or superior
First Known Use of YES-MAN
(Oxford English Dictionary)
Forms: Also yes man.
Etymology: < yes adv. + man n.1
colloq. (orig. U.S.).
A man who agrees from self-interest or fear with everything put to him by a superior; an obsequious subordinate.
1912 Cent. Mag. July 339/2 We’re both yes-men, Edward. We’ve got to take orders now.
1924 H. C. Witwer in Cosmopolitan Apr. 69/2, I thoroughly enjoy‥the yes-men who hang about the executives and hold their jobs by simply being constantly affirmative.
1928 Sunday Express 15 July 3/6 Heeney is paying the strictest attention to his instructors, and in this respect is very different from Tunney, who directs his own training, and whose camp associates are all ‘Yes’ men.
Wikipedia: Freeman Tilden
Freeman Tilden (August 22, 1883 – May 13, 1980) was one of the first people to set down the principles and theories of Heritage Interpretation in his 1957 book, Interpreting Our Heritage. His work with the United States National Park Service inspired generations of interpreters across the world and continues to be a definitive text for the discipline. According to thematic interpretation expert, Sam H. Ham, Tilden’s quotation on page 38 of Interpreting Our Heritage (which was taken from a US National Park Service administrative manual) has become one of the most cited phrases in the interpretation literature worldwide:
“Through interpretation, understanding; through understanding, appreciation; through appreciation, protection.”
11 March 1911, Fort Wayne (IN) Sentinel, “Liars’ Clubs Hold Sessions,” pg. 8, col. 6:
To be a successful member of this organization, stand high in the ranks and be recognized as a real liar it is necessary to have a “yes-man.” This party is to him of the first part what an alibi is to the accused—it is up to him to verify everything that the speaker asserts.
26 June 1912, Kansas City (MO) Star, pg. 10A, col. 1:
When the “Yes-Man” Grows Old.
The Employee Who Has No Initiative, Who Simply Acquiesces to All Orders Given Him and Performs His Duties Like a Machine, Must in the End Face Such a Crisis as Confronted Edward Marsh.
Freeman Tilden in the Century Magazine. (See below—ed.)
July 1912, Century Magazine, pg. 381:
BY FREEMAN TILDEN
The whole spirit of the business emanated from him. He did the thinking for everybody. It was a mistake; he sees it now. He surrounded himself with good, honest men. He could place confidence in them. But they were yes-men. Do you know what I mean by that — yes-men? He gave orders, and they said ‘Yes.’ They never questioned, they never went a jot out of the path he laid down for them. They might have had ideas; they probably did. You yourself did once. But ideas weren’t wanted. What was wanted was acquiescence—and work.
Books and the Man
By John Tracy Winterich
New York, NY: Greenberg
Down in London was a sovereign surrounded by yes men (and even more completely by yes women): ...
Successful Living in this Machine Age
By E. A. Filene and Charles Wesley Wood
New York, NY: Simon and Schuster
Nor will he employ a yes-man, or a yes-woman, if he can help it.
Google News Archive
15 September 1938, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, “Natural Girls Prefer To Win Admiration” by Marian Young, pg. 16, col. 4:
She knows that an un mitigated yes-woman can be as boring as a yes-man.
29 January 1953, New York (NY) Times, “Dulles tells staff peace depends on it,” pg. 9:
Dulles said that the leaders of the State Department did not want “yes men” or “yes women” helping make policy, but did expect loyalty to policies “made...”
July 09, 2007
Say “No” to “Yes Men/Women”
I hope you can join me in thinking about the times a friend told you that you were playing with fire or that your decisions might land you in a bit of trouble.
Men are yes-men… What are women?
by IamOjay Posted April 14, 2012
The Black Dagger Apr. 14
Oh come now. Women are the “no” to the “yes”...or would that be the “yes to the “no”.
You will never understand women.
POWERSHAKER Apr. 14
Women are yes-women.