See more synonyms for obsequious on Thesaurus.com
  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 for obsequious

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
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 obsequiously

Historical Examples of obsequiously

  • "Your Excellency has not added your address," said the clerk, obsequiously.

    Tony Butler

    Charles James Lever

  • Anna nodded, and Mr. Earles attended her obsequiously to the door.

    Anna the Adventuress

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • “High, well-born, and most gracious madame,” said he obsequiously.

    Fritz and Eric

    John Conroy Hutcheson

  • The proprietor served him obsequiously but did not venture to talk.


    James Joyce

  • Dishes were obsequiously offered for inspection and approval.

British Dictionary definitions for obsequiously


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

Word Origin for obsequious

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 obsequiously



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