slav·​ish | \ ˈslā-vish, sometimes ˈsla- How to pronounce slavish (audio) \

Definition of slavish

1a : of or characteristic of a slave especially : basely or abjectly servile
b archaic : despicable, low
2 archaic : oppressive, tyrannical
3 : copying obsequiously or without originality : imitative

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Other Words from slavish

slavishly adverb
slavishness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for slavish

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

Examples of slavish in a Sentence

a politician and his slavish followers He has been criticized for his slavish devotion to the rules.
Recent Examples on the Web Military regimes bolster their legitimacy by slavish devotion to the crown. The Economist, "Relations between Thailand’s army and king are becoming one-sided," 5 Sep. 2019 Creative contextual design: To Woodhouse and Tinucci, the philosophy of contextualism, which holds that a building should respond to its natural and physical surroundings, is not a recipe for slavish imitation. Blair Kamin,, "Column: Kings of the beach house: The little lakefront buildings of two Chicago architects show the way to design that enhances its environs.," 31 July 2019 Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood, covers a lot of territory in three acts, all set in the Los Angeles of 1969 just as Charles Manson was working his sicko spell on a group of slavish followers. Time, "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood," 22 July 2019 Having written a series of slavish articles attacking the media’s coverage of Trump, Wolff was given unfettered access to the White House. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Is There a Right Way to Cover the Trump White House?," 6 June 2019 Film and art writing were corrupted so long ago by slavish fixations on the box office and the auction price that it’s now hard to imagine them otherwise. Christian Lorentzen, Harper's magazine, "Like This or Die," 10 Apr. 2019 His mock recreation of a 1992 ski film, using all period equipment, is a time-warp masterpiece that makes explicit points about slavish commitment to contemporary styles. Chuck Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Is Everyone Skiing on the Wrong Skis?," 21 Feb. 2019 One of the wittier details in DeMonaco’s functional, largely generic script finds the slavish TV news anchors frustrated by the purge’s relatively sluggish start. Michael Phillips, The Seattle Times, "‘The First Purge’: Violent, erratic prequel shows how it all began," 3 July 2018 But from a certain angle, Incredibles 2 looks a little too slavish to creaky conventions. Richard Lawson, HWD, "Incredibles 2 Review: Superhero Action That’s Familiar, but Fantastic," 11 June 2018

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

1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for slavish

Time Traveler

The first known use of slavish was in 1565

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Cite this Entry

“Slavish.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for slavish


How to pronounce slavish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of slavish

disapproving : copying or following someone or something completely without any attempt to be original or independent


slav·​ish | \ ˈslā-vish How to pronounce slavish (audio) \

Kids Definition of slavish

: following, copying, or accepting something or someone without questioning slavish imitators

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More from Merriam-Webster on slavish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for slavish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with slavish

Spanish Central: Translation of slavish

Nglish: Translation of slavish for Spanish Speakers

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