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Word of the Day
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Definitions for obsequious

  1. characterized by or showing servile complaisance or deference; fawning: an obsequious bow.
  2. servilely compliant or deferential: obsequious servants.
  3. obedient; dutiful.

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Citations for obsequious
At such a moment, the arrival of her friend was a sincere pleasure to Elizabeth, though in the course of their meetings she must sometimes think the pleasure dearly bought, when she saw Mr. Darcy exposed to all the parading and obsequious civility of her husband. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, 1813
He was garrulous and obsequious, sprinkling “yes, sir”s around as though casting handfuls of seed on new-raked soil. Annie Proulx, "A Resolute Man," The New Yorker, March 21, 2016
Origin of obsequious
late Middle English
The English adjective obsequious, a direct borrowing from Latin obsequiōsus, has undergone pejoration (change in meaning for the worse) from its Latin original. The Latin word means “obedient, compliant,” which is the original English meaning of the word in the 15th century. By the end of the 16th century, in Shakespeare’s time, obsequious developed the meaning "dutiful in showing one’s respect for the dead." Its current sense, "fawning, servile," dates from the early 17th century.
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