- slavishly submissive or obsequious; fawning: servile flatterers.
- characteristic of, proper to, or customary for slaves; abject: servile obedience.
- yielding slavishly; truckling (usually followed by to).
- extremely imitative, especially in the arts; lacking in originality.
- being in slavery; oppressed.
- of, relating to, or involving slaves or servants.
- of or relating to a condition of servitude or property ownership in which a person is held as a slave or as partially enslaved: medieval rebellions against servile laws.
Origin of servile
SynonymsSee more synonyms for servile on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for servile
Where Don is confident and arrogant, Bob is servile and accommodating.Where ‘Mad Men’ Left Off: A Primer for Season Seven
April 11, 2014
They are not permitted to speak of that period of colonial history when they were ruled as a servile caste by a Tutsi elite.Exchanging Stories of Trauma
August 19, 2013
In memory, he was reviled as a servile race traitor, a cringing sycophant to white wealth and power.David's Book Club: Up From History
February 2, 2013
I found that I reverted to a housewife stereotype as servile as my grandma.Boomerang Moms: When Mommy Returns to Deal With ‘Adultescents’
June 15, 2012
My brother was servile; he has attached himself to the retinue of a wealthy Baroness.City of Endless Night
Base hearts it only hardens, making those who were mean and servile, mean and proud.Self-Help
Art so followed is the most servile indolence in which life can be wasted.Modern Painters Volume I (of V)
The servile spouters in the land are as plenty as summer flies.The Book of Khalid
Now both these are branches of the servile or ministerial art.Statesman
- 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
Word Origin and History for servile
late 14c., from Latin servilis "of a slave" (as in Servile Wars, name given to the slave revolts in the late Roman Republic), also "slavish, servile," from servus "slave" (see serve (v.)). Earliest sense was legal, servile work being forbidden on the Sabbath; sense of "cringing, fawning" first recorded c.1600.