[ sur-vil, -vahyl ]
/ ˈsɜr vɪl, -vaɪl /


Origin of servile

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin servīlis, equivalent to serv- (stem of servīre to be a slave) + -īlis -ile


1, 2 cringing, sycophantic. Servile, menial, obsequious, slavish characterize one who behaves like a slave or an inferior. Servile suggests cringing, fawning, and abject submission: servile responses to questions. Menial applies to that which is considered undesirable drudgery: the most menial tasks. Obsequious implies the ostentatious subordination of oneself to the wishes of another, either from fear or from hope of gain: an obsequious waiter. Slavish stresses the dependence and labori-ous toil of one who follows or obeys without question: slavish attentiveness to orders.
2 mean, base, low.

OTHER WORDS FROM servile Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for servile

British Dictionary definitions for servile

/ (ˈsɜːvaɪl) /


obsequious or fawning in attitude or behaviour; submissive
of or suitable for a slave
existing in or relating to a state of slavery
(when postpositive, foll by to) submitting or obedient

Derived forms of servile

servilely, adverbservility (sɜːˈvɪlɪtɪ) or servileness, noun

Word Origin for servile

C14: from Latin servīlis, from servus slave
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