Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

servile

play
adjective ser·vile \ˈsər-vəl, -ˌvī(-ə)l\

Simple Definition of servile

  • : very obedient and trying too hard to please someone

Full Definition of servile

  1. 1 :  of or befitting a slave or a menial position

  2. 2 :  meanly or cravenly submissive :  abject

ser·vile·ly play \-və(l)-lē, -ˌvī(-ə)l-lē\ adverb
ser·vile·ness play \-vəl-nəs, -ˌvī(-ə)l-\ noun
ser·vil·i·ty play \(ˌ)sər-ˈvi-lə-tē\ noun

Examples of servile

  1. <had always maintained a servile attitude around people with money>



Origin of servile

Middle English, from Anglo-French servil, from Latin servilis, from servus slave


First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of servile

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>.

Rhymes with servile


SERVILE Defined for Kids

servile

play
adjective ser·vile \ˈsər-vəl\

Definition of servile

  1. 1 :  of or suitable to a slave <servile work>

  2. 2 :  very obedient and trying too hard to please





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up servile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

16.96 pounds 100 pounds 196.5 pounds 2.2 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ