[ suhb-sur-vee-uhnt ]
See synonyms for subservient on
  1. serving or acting in a subordinate capacity; subordinate.

  2. excessively submissive; servile; obsequious: subservient persons;subservient conduct.

  1. useful in promoting a purpose or end.

Origin of subservient

First recorded in 1625–35; from Latin subservient- (stem of subserviēns, present participle of subservīre “to serve as a subordinate”; see subserve), equivalent to sub- prefix meaning “under, below, beneath, etc.” + servi-, stem of servīre “to serve” + -ent noun and adjective suffix; see sub-, serve, -ent

Other words from subservient

  • sub·ser·vi·ence [suhb-sur-vee-uhns], /səbˈsɜr vi əns/, sub·ser·vi·en·cy [suhb-sur-vee-uhn-see], /səbˈsɜr vi ən si/, noun
  • sub·ser·vi·ent·ly, adverb
  • un·sub·ser·vi·ent, adjective
  • un·sub·ser·vi·ent·ly, adverb

Words Nearby subservient Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use subservient in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for subservient


/ (səbˈsɜːvɪənt) /

  1. obsequious in behaviour or attitude

  2. serving as a means to an end

  1. a less common word for subordinate (def. 2)

Origin of subservient

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

Derived forms of subservient

  • subserviently, adverb
  • subservience or subserviency, 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