: marked by or exhibiting a fawning attentiveness
Did You Know?
An obsequious person is more likely to be a follower than a leader. Use that fact to help you remember the meaning of obsequious. All you need to do is bear in mind that the word comes from the Latin root sequi, meaning "to follow." (The other contributor is the prefix ob-, meaning "toward.") Sequi is the source of a number of other English words, too, including consequence (a result that follows from an action), sequel (a novel, film, or TV show that follows and continues a story begun in another), and non sequitur (a conclusion that doesn't follow from what was said before).
"Not pleasing others enough amounts to surliness, pleasing too much makes one obsequious—you have to be friendly, but not too friendly. The sweet spot in the middle is where you want to be." — Carlin Flora, Psychology Today, 1 July 2017
"She read up on professors beforehand and, if their written work was accessible, familiarized herself with it, so she could make mention of it. That flattered them and pegged her as a serious, considerate person. Taking that too far, of course, could be repulsively obsequious." — Frank Bruni, The New York Times, 19 Aug. 2018
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