as in subordinate
very willing to obey someone else She was an equal partner in the marriage and not a subservient wife.

Synonyms & Similar Words


Antonyms & Near Antonyms


Synonym Chooser

How is the word subservient distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of subservient are obsequious, servile, and slavish. While all these words 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

When could obsequious be used to replace subservient?

In some situations, the words obsequious and subservient are roughly equivalent. However, obsequious implies fawning or sycophantic compliance and exaggerated deference of manner.

waiters who are obsequious in the presence of celebrities

When is it sensible to use servile instead of subservient?

The meanings of servile and subservient largely overlap; however, servile suggests the mean or fawning behavior of a slave.

a political boss and his entourage of servile hangers-on

Where would slavish be a reasonable alternative to subservient?

The words slavish and subservient can be used in similar contexts, but slavish suggests abject or debased servility.

the slavish status of migrant farm workers

Thesaurus Entries Near subservient

Cite this Entry

“Subservient.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

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