obsequious

adjective
ob·​se·​qui·​ous | \ əb-ˈsē-kwē-əs How to pronounce obsequious (audio) , äb-\

Definition of obsequious

: marked by or exhibiting a fawning attentiveness

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Other Words from obsequious

obsequiously adverb
obsequiousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Follow Along With the Definition of Obsequious

An obsequious person is more likely to be a follower than a leader. Use that fact to help you remember the meaning of "obsequious." All you need to do is bear in mind that the word comes from the Latin root sequi, meaning "to follow." (The other contributor is the prefix ob-, meaning "toward.") "Sequi" is the source of a number of other English words, too, including "consequence" (a result that follows from an action), "sequel" (a novel, film, or TV show that follows an original version), and "non sequitur" (a conclusion that doesn’t follow from what was said before).

Examples of obsequious in a Sentence

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 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 The obsequious villagers touched their caps but sneered behind her back. — "George Sand," 1980, in V. S. Pritchett: A Man of Letters1985 Nash's other hand flashed forward a lighter with the obsequious speed of a motor salesman. — Ian Fleming, From Russia, With Love, 1957 She's constantly followed by obsequious assistants who will do anything she tells them to.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Macron was pilloried in the press at home for seeming too obsequious: much of the French press focused on one photograph of Trump leading Macron by the hand down a White House pathway, like a parent with a child. Washington Post, "D-Day: Trump and world leaders celebrate the Normandy invasion that saved Europe from Nazism," 7 June 2019 Professionally trained and not annoyingly obsequious. Max Maeckler, Vogue, "Going to the Oscars? The Best L.A. Hotels for Every Hollywood Type," 22 Feb. 2019 Two characters seemingly tossed in to further stimulate the plot are the obsequious hotel bellhop (Robert Moniz) and the ambitious local prima donna (Lori Kelley). Tom Titus, latimes.com, "On Theater: A wild encore for ‘Tenor’ in Newport Beach," 7 June 2018 The pomposity of formal dining, with its obsequious service and obsessive attention to comfort, is meant to show how removed from the world Stan has become. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Dinner Is a Stew of Privilege and Resentment," 5 May 2017 Of course, laughter can signal many different things, including attempted wooing, warm affiliation, social dominance (a derisive guffaw) and subordination (an obsequious titter). Robert M. Sapolsky, WSJ, "Laughter Is the Best Medicine to Gauge Social Ties," 30 Nov. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obsequious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of obsequious

1602, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for obsequious

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

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Dictionary Entries near obsequious

obsequent

obsequial

obsequience

obsequious

obsequity

obsequium

obsequy

Statistics for obsequious

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Time Traveler for obsequious

The first known use of obsequious was in 1602

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More Definitions for obsequious

obsequious

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of obsequious

disapproving : too eager to help or obey someone important

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More from Merriam-Webster on obsequious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obsequious

Spanish Central: Translation of obsequious

Nglish: Translation of obsequious for Spanish Speakers

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