Synonym Chooser

How is the word slavish distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of slavish are obsequious, servile, and subservient. While all these words mean "showing or characterized by extreme compliance or abject obedience," slavish suggests abject or debased servility.

the slavish status of migrant farm workers

When is obsequious a more appropriate choice than slavish?

While in some cases nearly identical to slavish, obsequious implies fawning or sycophantic compliance and exaggerated deference of manner.

waiters who are obsequious in the presence of celebrities

When might servile be a better fit than slavish?

While the synonyms servile and slavish are close in meaning, servile suggests the mean or fawning behavior of a slave.

a political boss and his entourage of servile hangers-on

When can subservient be used instead of slavish?

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

domestic help was expected to be properly subservient

Thesaurus Entries Near slavish

Cite this Entry

“Slavish.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

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