adjective Etymology: Latin subservient-, subserviens, present participle of subservire Date: circa 1626 1. useful in an inferior capacity ; subordinate 2. serving to promote some end 3. obsequiously submissive ; truckling • subserviently adverb Synonyms: subservient, servile, slavish, obsequious mean showing or characterized by extreme compliance or abject obedience. subservient implies the cringing manner of one very conscious of a subordinate position <
domestic help was expected to be properly subservient
. servile suggests the mean or fawning behavior of a slave <
a political boss and his entourage of servile hangers-on
. slavish suggests abject or debased servility <
the slavish status of migrant farm workers
. obsequious implies fawning or sycophantic compliance and exaggerated deference of manner <
waiters who are obsequious in the presence of celebrities

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • subservient — 1 *auxiliary, subsidiary, contributory, ancillary, adjuvant, accessory Analogous words: *subordinate, secondary, dependent, subject 2 Subservient, servile, slavish, menial, obsequious can mean showing or characterized by extreme compliance or… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Subservient — Sub*serv i*ent, a. [L. subserviens, entis, p. pr. See {Subserve}.] Fitted or disposed to subserve; useful in an inferior capacity; serving to promote some end; subordinate; hence, servile, truckling. [1913 Webster] Scarce ever reading anything… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • subservient — UK US /səbˈsɜːviənt/ adjective ► willing to do what another person, organization, etc. wants, and considering your aims or wishes to be less important than those of others: »a subservient position/role subservient to sb/sth »Critics say the… …   Financial and business terms

  • subservient — [adj1] extremely compliant abject, acquiescent, a slave to*, at one’s beck and call*, at one’s mercy*, bootlicking, cowering, cringing, dancing, deferential, docile, fawning, ignoble, inferior, in one’s clutches*, in one’s pocket*, in one’s… …   New thesaurus

  • subservient — I adjective abject, accessory, adjuvant, aidful, aiding, ancillary, auxiliary, base, contributory, cringing, deferential, dependent, enslaved, fawning, helpful, inferior, ingratiating, junior, lesser, lower, menial, ministrant, obedient, obeisant …   Law dictionary

  • subservient — (adj.) 1630s, useful, serviceable, from L. subservientem (nom. subserviens), prp. of subservire assist, lend support, from sub under (see SUB (Cf. sub )) + servire serve (see SERVE (Cf. serve)). The meaning slavishly obedient …   Etymology dictionary

  • subservient — ► ADJECTIVE 1) prepared to obey others unquestioningly; obsequious. 2) less important; subordinate. DERIVATIVES subservience noun …   English terms dictionary

  • subservient — [səb sʉr′vēənt] adj. [L subserviens, prp. of subservire, to SUBSERVE] 1. that is useful, helpful, or of service, esp. in an inferior or subordinate capacity 2. submissive; obsequious subserviently adv …   English World dictionary

  • subservient — sub|ser|vi|ent [səbˈsə:viənt US ˈsə:r ] adj [Date: 1600 1700; : Latin; Origin: , present participle of subservire to serve, be subservient , from servire to serve ] 1.) always obeying another person and doing everything they want you to do used… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • subservient — [[t]səbsɜ͟ː(r)viənt[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED: oft ADJ to n If you are subservient, you do whatever someone wants you to do. Her willingness to be subservient to her children isolated her. Derived words: subservience [[t]səbsɜ͟ː(r)viəns[/t]] N UNCOUNT …   English dictionary

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