Thesaurus

slavish

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of slavish

1 using or marked by the use of something else as a basis or model
  • slavish imitations of the great masters will never make you a painter in your own right

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2 showing, expressing, or offered in a spirit of humility or unseemly submissiveness
  • the assistant's slavish agreement with his boss's every thought, no matter how half-baked

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Frequently Asked Questions About slavish

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

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Time Traveler for slavish

Time Traveler

The first known use of slavish was in 1565

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Thesaurus Entries Near slavish

slaving (for)

slavish

slavishly

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Cite this Entry

“Slavish.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/slavish. Accessed 17 Sep. 2021.

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