subservient

[suh b-sur-vee-uh nt]
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adjective
  1. serving or acting in a subordinate capacity; subordinate.
  2. servile; excessively submissive; obsequious: subservient persons; subservient conduct.
  3. useful in promoting a purpose or end.

Origin of subservient

1625–35; < Latin subservient- (stem of subserviēns, present participle of subservīre to subserve), equivalent to sub- sub- + servi-, stem of servīre to serve + -ent -ent
Related formssub·ser·vi·ence, sub·ser·vi·en·cy, nounsub·ser·vi·ent·ly, adverbun·sub·ser·vi·ent, adjectiveun·sub·ser·vi·ent·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for subservience

subservient

adjective
  1. obsequious in behaviour or attitude
  2. serving as a means to an end
  3. a less common word for subordinate (def. 2)
Derived Formssubserviently, adverbsubservience or subserviency, noun

Word Origin for subservient

C17: from Latin subserviēns complying with, from subservīre to subserve
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 subservience

subservient

adj.

1630s, "useful, serviceable," from Latin subservientem (nominative subserviens), present participle of subservire "assist, lend support," from sub "under" (see sub-) + servire "serve" (see serve). The meaning "slavishly obedient" is first recorded 1794.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper