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

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 The crews also catch the obsequious obsequies of comrades in the street, filmed in every corner of the evil empire. Kyle Smith, National Review, 9 May 2021 German automakers have been repeatedly mocked for their obsequious attempts to remain in the good graces of Beijing despite China's questionable human rights record. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 26 Apr. 2021 At the opening, politicians lined up to flatter the company in the most obsequious terms. Sarah Leonard, The New Republic, 2 Apr. 2021 After his uncle exchanged pleasantries with the staff, who all greeted him with obsequious bows, they were led to the veranda, which looked out on the elaborate gardens, another legacy from the club's founding at the height of the British Raj. Elliot Ackerman, Wired, 23 Feb. 2021 Trump’s dual acquittals have been seen as a product of the Republican Party’s obsequious fealty to him. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, 22 Feb. 2021 For this and other obsequious suck-ups to Trump, Laffer received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the president in June 2019. Bruce Bartlett, The New Republic, 8 Feb. 2021 But apparently even that was not obsequious enough. Adam Epstein, Quartz, 9 Nov. 2020 Giuliani attempts to reassure the girl, who responds with obsequious flattery and flirtation. Kyle Buchanan, New York Times, 23 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for obsequious

Time Traveler

The first known use of obsequious was in 1602

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Last Updated

18 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Obsequious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsequious. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for obsequious



English Language Learners Definition of obsequious

disapproving : too eager to help or obey someone important

More from Merriam-Webster on obsequious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obsequious

Nglish: Translation of obsequious for Spanish Speakers


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