Thesaurus

obsequious

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of obsequious

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Frequently Asked Questions About obsequious

How is the word obsequious distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of obsequious are servile, slavish, and subservient. While all these words mean "showing or characterized by extreme compliance or abject obedience," obsequious implies fawning or sycophantic compliance and exaggerated deference of manner.

waiters who are obsequious in the presence of celebrities

When is servile a more appropriate choice than obsequious?

The synonyms servile and obsequious are sometimes interchangeable, but servile suggests the mean or fawning behavior of a slave.

a political boss and his entourage of servile hangers-on

When can slavish be used instead of obsequious?

Although the words slavish and obsequious have much in common, slavish suggests abject or debased servility.

the slavish status of migrant farm workers

When could subservient be used to replace obsequious?

The meanings of subservient and obsequious largely overlap; however, subservient implies the cringing manner of one very conscious of a subordinate position.

domestic help was expected to be properly subservient

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The first known use of obsequious was in 1602

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Cite this Entry

“Obsequious.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/obsequious. Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on obsequious

Dictionary: Definition of obsequious

Spanish Central: Translation of obsequious

Nglish: Translation of obsequious for Spanish Speakers

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