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  1. of or befitting a slave: slavish subjection.
  2. being or resembling a slave; abjectly submissive: He was slavish in his obedience.
  3. base; mean; ignoble: slavish fears.
  4. deliberately imitative; lacking originality: a slavish reproduction.
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Origin of slavish

First recorded in 1555–65; slave + -ish1
Related formsslav·ish·ly, adverbslav·ish·ness, nouno·ver·slav·ish, adjectiveo·ver·slav·ish·ly, adverbo·ver·slav·ish·ness, noun


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2. groveling, sycophantic, fawning, cringing. See servile.


2. independent. 3. exalted.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for slavish


  1. of or befitting a slave
  2. being or resembling a slave; servile
  3. unoriginal; imitative
  4. archaic ignoble
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Derived Formsslavishly, adverbslavishness, noun
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 slavish


1560s, from slave (n.) + -ish. Sense of "servilely imitative, lacking originality or independence" is from 1753. Related: Slavishly; slavishness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper