Simple Definition of subservient
: very willing or too willing to obey someone else
: less important than something or someone else
Examples of subservient in a sentence
Henson and Stowe did become close friends, and Stowe herself drew direct parallels between Uncle Tom and Josiah Henson. Sadder still, the term “Uncle Tom” has since taken on negative, minstrel-show connotations of subservient blacks kowtowing to whites, which is unfortunate, because it undermines the triumph that was Josiah Henson's life. He was no caricature, and his achievements were real. —Will Ferguson, Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw, 2004
Sally Boysen, a psychologist at Ohio State University, probed the degree to which a chimp's ability to reason is subservient to the animal's desires. —Eugene Linden, Time, 6 Sept. 1999
That's why many believe that I have the right to preach but not to pastor. For a woman to be a pastor would mean that men would have to submit and be subservient to a woman. —Chryll Crews, Ms., January/February 1998
As for a “European Europe,” allied with but not subservient to the United States, providing for its own defense and diplomacy and practicing detente with Moscow, de Gaulle did not achieve it in his lifetime, but there was at least a beginning. —Stanley Hoffmann, New York Times Book Review, 20 Mar. 1983
She refused to take a subservient role in their marriage.
Did You Know?
Since sub- means "below", it emphasizes the lower position of the person in the subservient one. Soldiers of a given rank are always subservient to those of a higher rank; this subservience is symbolized by the requirement that they salute their superior at every opportunity. Women have often been forced into subservient relationships with men. A small nation may feel subservient to its more powerful neighbor, obliged to obey even when it doesn't want to. So subservience usually brings with it a good dose of resentment.
Origin and Etymology of subservient
Latin subservient-, subserviens, present participle of subservire (see subserve)
First Known Use: circa 1626
Synonym Discussion of subservient
SUBSERVIENT Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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