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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.
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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


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

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British Dictionary definitions for obsequiousness


  1. obedient or attentive in an ingratiating or servile manner
  2. rare submissive or compliant
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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 obsequiousness



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.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper