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obsequious

[uh b-see-kwee-uh s]
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adjective
  1. characterized by or showing servile complaisance or deference; fawning: an obsequious bow.
  2. servilely compliant or deferential: obsequious servants.
  3. obedient; dutiful.

Origin of obsequious

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin obsequiōsus, equivalent to obsequi(um) compliance (obsequ(ī) to comply with (ob- ob- + sequī to follow) + -ium -ium) + -ōsus -ous
Related formsob·se·qui·ous·ly, adverbob·se·qui·ous·ness, nouno·ver·ob·se·qui·ous, adjectiveo·ver·ob·se·qui·ous·ly, adverbo·ver·ob·se·qui·ous·ness, nounun·ob·se·qui·ous, adjectiveun·ob·se·qui·ous·ly, adverbun·ob·se·qui·ous·ness, noun
Can be confusedobsequies obsequious

Synonyms

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1. sycophantic, flattering. 2. cringing, submissive. See servile.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for obsequious

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "The same, Sir, at your service," replied the obsequious valet.

    Gomez Arias

    Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso

  • Who knows, thought I, but I owe all this obsequious deference to my horse?

  • He dropped her hand at the obsequious voice of the waiter at his elbow.

    Miss Pat at School

    Pemberton Ginther

  • It took a Tudor will to do the deed, and it took an obsequious Tudor age to accept it.

    Clare Avery

    Emily Sarah Holt

  • Selim was most obsequious, and seemed ready to do everything for my comfort.

    Paul Patoff

    F. Marion Crawford


British Dictionary definitions for obsequious

obsequious

adjective
  1. obedient or attentive in an ingratiating or servile manner
  2. rare submissive or compliant
Derived Formsobsequiously, adverbobsequiousness, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Latin obsequiōsus compliant, from obsequium compliance, from obsequi to follow, from ob- to + sequi to follow
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for obsequious

adj.

late 15c., "prompt to serve," from Middle French obséquieux (15c.), from Latin obsequiosus "compliant, obedient," from obsequium "compliance, dutiful service," from obsequi "to accommodate oneself to the will of another," from ob "after" (see ob-) + sequi "to follow" (see sequel). Pejorative sense of "fawning, sycophantic" had emerged by 1590s. Related: Obsequiously; obsequiousness (mid-15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper