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

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

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

Antonyms for slavish Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for slavishness

Historical Examples of slavishness

  • He is not boisterously contemptuous of the slavishness of Senators as Penrose was.

    Behind the Mirrors

    Clinton W. Gilbert

  • The twin curses of democracy, slavishness and jealousy, are curiously blended in their views of social and political life.

    British Socialism

    J. Ellis Barker

British Dictionary definitions for slavishness



of or befitting a slave
being or resembling a slave; servile
unoriginal; imitative
archaic ignoble
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 slavishness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper