• synonyms


[suh b-sur-vee-uh nt]
See more synonyms for subservient on Thesaurus.com
  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.
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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

Related Words for subserviently

subserviently, obediently, abjectly, dutifully, slavishly, sycophantically

Examples from the Web for subserviently

Historical Examples of subserviently

  • Nell approached her timidly and spoke softly, lovingly, subserviently.

    Mistress Nell

    George C. Hazelton, Jr.

  • 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.

    Winter Evening Tales

    Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

  • Pedro was approaching them subserviently, a humble, bobbing head betokening his anxiety to please the fine folk.

    The Ghost Breaker

    Charles Goddard

British Dictionary definitions for subserviently


  1. obsequious in behaviour or attitude
  2. serving as a means to an end
  3. a less common word for subordinate (def. 2)
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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 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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper