subservient

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 abject obedience.
Subservient (see also AUXILIARY) applies directly or indirectly to those who occupy a subordinate or dependent condition or who manifest the state of mind of one in such a position; the term stresses subordination and may connote cringing or truckling
{

editors and journalists who express opinions in print that are opposed to the interests of the rich are dismissed and replaced by subservient ones— Shaw

}
{

a certainty that she would always worship him and be nice and subservientFarrell

}
Servile suggests a lowly status and a mean or cringing submissiveness
{

servile labors

}
{

mean, servile compliance— Burns

}
{

in no country ... did the clergy become by tradition so completely servile to the political authority— Shirer

}
{

they are not loyal, they are only servile—Shaw

}
Slavish suggests the status or attitude of a slave and typically implies an abject or debased servility unbecoming to a free man
{

a slavish yes-man to the party bosses—5. H. Adams

}
{

Oriental literature ... is based on a slavish acceptance by the pupil of the authority of the master— Cohen

}
{

fear took hold on me from head to foot— slavish superstitious fear— Stevenson

}
{

she also became increasingly assiduous in her slavish attentions, until . . . one would almost have thought that her duty toward him was her very life— Wolfe

}
Both servile and slavish are used of unduly close dependence upon an original or model
{

it is the business of art to imitate nature, but not with a servile pencil— Goldsmith

}
{

a slavish devotion to tradition

}
Menial in its typical extended reference applies to occupations requiring no special skill or intellectual attainment or ranked low in economic or social status and stresses the humbleness and degradation of or like that of one bound to such an occupation
{

niggers were ineducable and would therefore always be menialMayer

}
{

competing against a mass of unemployed, they accepted the most menial and worst paid jobs— Handlin

}
{

encouraged to rise from the menial and mechanical operations of his craft— Mumford

}
{

most menial of stations in that aristocratic old Boston world— Parrington

}
Obsequious may apply to persons who are actual inferiors or to the words, actions, or manners by which they reveal their sense of inferiority in the presence of their superiors
{

a duteous and knee-crooking knave . . . doting on his own obsequious bondage— Shak.

}
{

be civil, but not obsequiousMeredith

}
The word may imply a servile, often a sycophantic, attitude
{

brutal and arrogant when winning, they are bootlicking and servilely obsequious when losing— Cohri

}
{

on the second Saturday evening after he got his new position, the tobacconist, a rather obsequious man, called him Mr. Hall— Anderson

}
or extreme attentiveness in service or to the niceties of service
{

following him out, with obsequious politeness— Dickens

}
Analogous words: fawning, cringing, truckling, cowering (see FAWN): *compliant, acquiescent, resigned: *mean, ignoble, abject
Antonyms: domineering: overbearing

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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 — 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 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • 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

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.