ob·​se·​qui·​ous | \ əb-ˈsē-kwē-əs How to pronounce obsequious (audio) , äb- \

Definition of obsequious

: marked by or exhibiting a fawning attentiveness

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Other Words from obsequious

obsequiously adverb
obsequiousness noun

Follow Along With the Definition of Obsequious

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 an original version), and "non sequitur" (a conclusion that doesn’t follow from what was said before).

Examples of obsequious in a Sentence

But the Democratic presidential nominee is commonly referred to as Elvis, and his running mate as Eddie Haskell, that obsequious weenie from '50s TV. — Guy Trebay, Village Voice, 28 July 1992 He could wear an oxford shirt and necktie and speak the local language, in every sense, and never act obsequious or look as though he felt out of place. — Tracy Kidder, New England Monthly, April 1990 The obsequious villagers touched their caps but sneered behind her back. — "George Sand," 1980, in V. S. Pritchett: A Man of Letters1985 Nash's other hand flashed forward a lighter with the obsequious speed of a motor salesman. — Ian Fleming, From Russia, With Love, 1957 She's constantly followed by obsequious assistants who will do anything she tells them to.
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Recent Examples on the Web To make that happen, George P. Bush kissed up to Trump in the most obsequious -- and embarrassing -- ways possible. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 27 July 2021 At the gleaming hotel, the family is met by an obsequious manager (Gustaf Hammarsten), who, backed by a line of smiling staffers, plies the parents with cocktails from a prompt server named Madrid (Francesca Eastwood). Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 22 July 2021 Navigating this hard-to-please assortment is White Lotus resort manager Armond (Murray Bartlett), who's obsequious to – and scornful of – his guests. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, 12 July 2021 Relationships tended to flow one way — with obsequious public displays by heads of state and government trying to get on Trump’s good side. Zeke Miller, chicagotribune.com, 18 June 2021 Public outrage has forced even usually obsequious TV news channels to question the government. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, 10 June 2021 The crews also catch the obsequious obsequies of comrades in the street, filmed in every corner of the evil empire. Kyle Smith, National Review, 9 May 2021 German automakers have been repeatedly mocked for their obsequious attempts to remain in the good graces of Beijing despite China's questionable human rights record. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 26 Apr. 2021 At the opening, politicians lined up to flatter the company in the most obsequious terms. Sarah Leonard, The New Republic, 2 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obsequious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of obsequious

1602, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for obsequious

Middle English, compliant, from Latin obsequiosus, from obsequium compliance, from obsequi to comply, from ob- toward + sequi to follow — more at ob-, sue

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Time Traveler for obsequious

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The first known use of obsequious was in 1602

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Last Updated

26 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Obsequious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsequious. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for obsequious



English Language Learners Definition of obsequious

: too eager to help or obey someone important

More from Merriam-Webster on obsequious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obsequious

Nglish: Translation of obsequious for Spanish Speakers


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