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

Definition of slavish

1a : of or characteristic of someone held in forced servitude especially : basely or abjectly servile
b archaic : despicable, low I have done with slavish fear of disaster.— Charlotte Brontë … in a sense it is infinitely reasonable …. But there is such a thing as a mean infinity, a base and slavish eternity.— G. K. Chesterton
2 archaic : oppressive, tyrannical No minion of despotism ever ventured to advance more slavish doctrines …— George McDuffie
3 disapproving : copying obsequiously or without originality : imitative

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Other Words from slavish

slavishly adverb
slavishness noun

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 Trump, after all, was not supported these past few years by only his most slavish sycophants. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 22 Apr. 2021 Nothing but slavish allegiance to Donald Trump's Big Lie about the 2020 election and a desperate desire to prevent citizens from voting as a way to prevent Republicans from losing elections. Star Tribune, 13 May 2021 The most extreme Trump supporters will love the idea, but most independents and even some Republicans will conclude that the Republican Party no longer has any policies other than the slavish worshiping of one man. WSJ, 9 May 2021 Amazingly, many of the most fervent supporters are young people who have seemingly forsaken youthful rebellion for slavish conformity. WSJ, 18 Apr. 2021 Brady sees these membership contributions as vital to sustaining not just the financial needs of local news but to avoid the slavish devotion to digital ad sales as a sole revenue stream with its race to the bottom need for clickbait content. Howard Homonoff, Forbes, 10 Mar. 2021 If this massive population is being made miserable by a slavish devotion to in-boxes and chat channels, then this adds up to a whole lot of global miserableness! Cal Newport, The New Yorker, 26 Feb. 2021 So without current technology, a slavish media, the weirdest year in American history, and strong polling, Biden could not have gotten away by disappearing from a presidential campaign for months on end. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, 29 Sep. 2020 By promoting slavish adherence to arbitrary benchmarks and distancing requirements, the new CDC school opening guidelines do a disservice to science and kids. Vinay Prasad, STAT, 22 Feb. 2021

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

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The first known use of slavish was in 1565

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Statistics for slavish

Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Slavish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for slavish



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

More from Merriam-Webster on slavish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for slavish

Nglish: Translation of slavish for Spanish Speakers


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