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obsequious

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adjective ob·se·qui·ous \əb-ˈsē-kwē-əs, äb-\

Simple Definition of obsequious

  • : too eager to help or obey someone important

Full Definition of obsequious

  1. :  marked by or exhibiting a fawning attentiveness

ob·se·qui·ous·ly adverb
ob·se·qui·ous·ness noun

Examples of obsequious

  1. But the Democratic presidential nominee is commonly referred to as Elvis, and his running mate as Eddie Haskell, that obsequious weenie from '50s TV. —Guy Trebay, Village Voice, 28 July 1992

  2. He could wear an oxford shirt and necktie and speak the local language, in every sense, and never act obsequious or look as though he felt out of place. —Tracy Kidder, New England Monthly, April 1990

  3. The obsequious villagers touched their caps but sneered behind her back. —“George Sand,” 1980, in V. S. Pritchett: A Man of Letters1985

  4. Nash's other hand flashed forward a lighter with the obsequious speed of a motor salesman. —Ian Fleming, From Russia, With Love, 1957

  5. She's constantly followed by obsequious assistants who will do anything she tells them to.



Origin of obsequious

Middle English, compliant, from Latin obsequiosus, from obsequium compliance, from obsequi to comply, from ob- toward + sequi to follow — more at ob-, sue


First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of obsequious

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>.

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