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obsequious

[ uhb-see-kwee-uhs ]
/ əbˈsi kwi əs /
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See synonyms for: obsequious / obsequiously / obsequiousness on Thesaurus.com

adjective
characterized by or showing servile obedience and excessive eagerness to please; deferential; fawning: an obsequious bow;obsequious servants.
obedient; dutiful.

OTHER WORDS FOR obsequious

1 sycophantic, flattering; cringing, submissive.
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Origin of obsequious

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English, from Latin obsequiōsus, equivalent to obsequi(um) “compliance,” derivative of obsequ(ī) “to comply with” (equivalent to ob- + sequī “to follow”) + -ium + -ōsus; see ob-, -ium, -ous

synonym study for obsequious

1. See servile.

OTHER WORDS FROM obsequious

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH obsequious

obsequies, obsequious
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What is obsequiousness?

Obsequiousness is the act of making your wishes secondary to someone else’s wishes, as in The loyal butler was noted for his undying obsequiousness to his employer.

Obsequiousness describes a situation in which a person obediently serves someone else and is eager to please them.

Obsequiousness is not a commonly used word. People instead use words with similar meanings (and easier spellings), such as devotion, veneration, deference, or submission.

The word obsequiousness comes from the adjective obsequious, which describes someone demonstrating obedience and eagerness to please, as in The duchess had a team of obsequious servants.

Example: Selvon’s obsequiousness to the decadent earl ensured his long employment as a butler.

Where does obsequiousness come from?

The first records of obsequiousness come from around 1447. It comes from the adjective obsequious, which ultimately comes from the Latin obsequi, meaning “to comply with.” If you are performing acts of obsequiousness, you are following the orders of whoever gave the orders to you.

The word obsequiousness can refer to both willing and unwilling submission. A waiter or personal assistant, for example, will display obsequiousness as part of their job. A prisoner or slave, however, would show obsequiousness to avoid being punished or out of fear.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to obsequiousness?

  • obsequious (adjective)
  • obsequiously (adverb)
  • overobsequious (adjective)
  • overobsequiously (adverb)

What are some synonyms for obsequiousness?

What are some words that share a root or word element with obsequiousness

What are some words that often get used in discussing obsequiousness?

How is obsequiousness used in real life?

Obsequiousness is an uncommon word that is often used to describe shameful acts of submitting oneself to the demands of others.

Try using obsequiousness!

Which of the following words could be used to describe someone demonstrating obsequiousness?

A. resistance
B. bravery
C. obedience
D. independence

How to use obsequious in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for obsequious

obsequious
/ (əbˈsiːkwɪəs) /

adjective
obedient or attentive in an ingratiating or servile manner
rare submissive or compliant

Derived forms of obsequious

obsequiously, 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
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