[ sur-vil, -vahyl ]
/ ˈsɜr vɪl, -vaɪl /
See synonyms for: servile / servileness / servility on




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Origin of servile

First recorded in 1400–50; Middle English servil(e), serville, from Latin servīlis “of a slave, slavish, servile,” equivalent to serv- (stem of servus “slave”) + -īlis -ile;see also serf

synonym study for servile

1, 2. 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.

OTHER WORDS FROM servile Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

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