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

Definition of obsequious

: marked by or exhibiting a fawning attentiveness

Other Words from obsequious

obsequiously adverb
obsequiousness noun

Follow Along With the Definition of Obsequious

According to the origin of the word, an obsequious person is more likely to be a follower than a leader. The word comes from Latin sequi, meaning "to follow"; the prefix ob- means "toward."

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Often the scorn only intensifies, while obsequious apologies to Beijing can rankle Western consumers. Elisabeth Braw, WSJ, 24 July 2022 As vice president, Pence was Trump's notably obsequious wingman, heaping praise on his boss and stepping far from the spotlight whenever the president was in the same space. Michael D'antonio, CNN, 25 May 2022 This doesn't mean being obsequious, currying favor with the boss— just act nice and kind, treating everyone with dignity and respect. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 14 May 2022 To be sure Biden is not embracing the Crown Prince in the same obsequious manner that former President Donald Trump did. Peter Bergen, CNN, 11 July 2022 Sure enough, the mayor’s son Sahin (Erol Babaoglu) and his grinning, obsequious sidekick Kemal (Erdem Şenocak) show up almost immediately at Emre’s office, ostensibly to welcome him, but really to sound him out. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 29 June 2022 The next night, Carlson aired an obsequious one-on-one interview with Orbán—fifteen minutes without a single challenging question, and certainly no warnings about the potential death of Hungarian democracy. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 27 June 2022 Then, of course, there were the obsequious lawyers and bankers who helped guard fortunes and reputations. Simon Usborne, Town & Country, 15 June 2022 The Cannes official press conference is a challenging festival ritual, a veritable minefield in which questions range from puzzlingly obscure to embarrassingly obsequious. Gregg Kilday, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 May 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of obsequious was in 1602

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Last Updated

28 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Obsequious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsequious. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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