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  1. of or befitting a slave: slavish subjection.
  2. being or resembling a slave; abjectly submissive: He was slavish in his obedience.
  3. base; mean; ignoble: slavish fears.
  4. deliberately imitative; lacking originality: a slavish reproduction.
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Origin of slavish

First recorded in 1555–65; slave + -ish1
Related formsslav·ish·ly, adverbslav·ish·ness, nouno·ver·slav·ish, adjectiveo·ver·slav·ish·ly, adverbo·ver·slav·ish·ness, noun

Synonyms for slavish

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2. groveling, sycophantic, fawning, cringing. See servile.

Antonyms for slavish

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for slavishly

subserviently, obediently, abjectly, dutifully, slavishly, sycophantically

Examples from the Web for slavishly

Contemporary Examples of slavishly

Historical Examples of slavishly

British Dictionary definitions for slavishly


  1. of or befitting a slave
  2. being or resembling a slave; servile
  3. unoriginal; imitative
  4. archaic ignoble
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Derived Formsslavishly, adverbslavishness, noun
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 slavishly



1560s, from slave (n.) + -ish. Sense of "servilely imitative, lacking originality or independence" is from 1753. Related: Slavishly; slavishness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper