Word of the Day : August 30, 2012

servile

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adjective SER-vul

Definition

1 : of or befitting a slave or a menial position

2 : meanly or cravenly submissive : abject

Did You Know?

Latin served us "servile" with the help of "servilis," itself from "servus," the Latin word for "slave." "Servus" is also an ancestor of "serve," "service," and "servitude." Synonyms of "servile" in English include "subservient," "slavish," and "obsequious." "Subservient" implies the cringing manner of one very conscious of a subordinate position." "Slavish" suggests abject or debased servitude. "Obsequious" implies fawning or sycophantic compliance and exaggerated deference of manner. "Servile" suggests the mean or fawning behavior of a slave.


Examples

Maura was embarrassed at the way her mother demanded servile behavior from store employees.

"In a communique read from atop of the small truck, they criticised the national unions for placing too little importance on health concerns and being servile to the factory owners." - From an article by Steve Scherer on Reuters.com, August 2, 2012



Word Family Quiz

What 1-syllable relative of "servile" refers to a servant or laborer of feudal times? The answer is ...


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