servile

adjective
ser·​vile | \ ˈsər-vəl How to pronounce servile (audio) , -ˌvī(-ə)l \

Definition of servile

1 : of or befitting a menial position
2 : meanly or cravenly submissive : abject

Other Words from servile

servilely \ ˈsər-​və(l)-​lē How to pronounce servile (audio) , -​ˌvī(-​ə)l-​lē \ adverb
servileness \ ˈsər-​vəl-​nəs How to pronounce servile (audio) , -​ˌvī(-​ə)l-​ \ noun
servility \ (ˌ)sər-​ˈvi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce servile (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for servile

Synonyms

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Latin served us servile with the help of servilis, itself from servus, the Latin word for "slave." Servus is also an ancestor of serve, service, and servitude. Synonyms of servile in English include subservient, slavish, and obsequious. Subservient implies the cringing manner of someone who is very conscious of having a subordinate position. Slavish suggests abject or debased servitude. Obsequious implies fawning or sycophantic compliance and exaggerated deference of manner. Servile suggests the fawning behavior of one in forced servitude.

Examples of servile in a Sentence

had always maintained a servile attitude around people with money
Recent Examples on the Web Yet, as the technology gap with the West narrows, China's desire for self-reliance rises, and once-servile entrepreneurs have become increasingly outspoken in their critique of China's economic system. Sonja Opper For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 8 Nov. 2021 If China’s leaders are as wise as its propagandists are servile, the Middle Kingdom’s future is secure. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, 8 Nov. 2021 These conditions led them to become stereotyped as industrious and servile, which affected how employers treated them. NBC News, 4 Oct. 2021 For India’s mostly servile media, this is a striking break from the usual after seven years of Modi. Debasish Roy Chowdhury, Time, 3 May 2021 Julie Andrews played Cinderella—neat as a new pin and not remotely servile. Carol Dyhouse, Time, 19 Apr. 2021 As a result of this sort of culture, the stereotype of dancers as servile bodies that are better seen than heard unfortunately calcified long ago. Sydney Skybetter, Wired, 7 Feb. 2021 The others at the table nodded their heads in servile agreement. Keith Mcnally, Harpers Magazine, 5 Jan. 2021 What struck General McMaster was how Mr. Li’s monologue suggested an almost neocolonial relationship between a superior China and a servile U.S. Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'servile.' 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 servile

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for servile

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

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Time Traveler for servile

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The first known use of servile was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near servile

servigrous

servile

servilism

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Servile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/servile. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for servile

servile

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of servile

: very obedient and trying too hard to please someone

servile

adjective
ser·​vile | \ ˈsər-vəl How to pronounce servile (audio) \

Kids Definition of servile

1 : of or suitable to a slave servile work
2 : very obedient and trying too hard to please

More from Merriam-Webster on servile

Nglish: Translation of servile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of servile for Arabic Speakers

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