serving or acting in a subordinate capacity; subordinate.
servile; excessively submissive; obsequious: subservient persons; subservient conduct.
useful in promoting a purpose or end.
Origin of subservient
1625–35;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
< Latin subservient-
(stem of subserviēns,
present participle of subservīre
), equivalent to sub- sub-
stem of servīre
+ -ent -ent
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for subserviently
Historical Examples of subserviently
Nell approached her timidly and spoke softly, lovingly, subserviently.
And yesterday, only yesterday, he would have saluted me subserviently!
On the contrary, he and others of his ilk are most subserviently dependent on them.
I saw also that he was handsome, and I was quite sure he must be rich, or no doctor would wait upon him so subserviently.
Pedro was approaching them subserviently, a humble, bobbing head betokening his anxiety to please the fine folk.
British Dictionary definitions for subserviently
Derived Formssubserviently, adverbsubservience or subserviency, noun
obsequious in behaviour or attitude
serving as a means to an end
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
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Word Origin and History for subserviently
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