servile


servile
/serr"vil, -vuyl/, adj.
1. slavishly submissive or obsequious; fawning: servile flatterers.
2. characteristic of, proper to, or customary for slaves; abject: servile obedience.
3. yielding slavishly; truckling (usually fol. by to).
4. extremely imitative, esp. in the arts; lacking in originality.
5. being in slavery; oppressed.
6. of, pertaining to, or involving slaves or servants.
7. of or pertaining to a condition of servitude or property ownership in which a person is held as a slave or as partially enslaved: medieval rebellions against servile laws.
[1350-1400; ME < L servilis, equiv. to serv- (s. of servire to be a slave) + -ilis -ILE]
Syn. 1, 2. cringing, sycophantic. SERVILE, MENIAL, OBSEQUIOUS, SLAVISH characterize one who behaves like a slave or an inferior. SERVILE suggests cringing, fawning, and abject submission: servile responses to questions. MENIAL applies to that which is considered undesirable drudgery: the most menial tasks. OBSEQUIOUS implies the ostentatious subordination of oneself to the wishes of another, either from fear or from hope of gain: an obsequious waiter. SLAVISH stresses the dependence and labori-ous toil of one who follows or obeys without question: slavish attentiveness to orders. 2. mean, base, low.
Ant. 1. aggressive. 2. exalted.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • servile — [ sɛrvil ] adj. • mil. XIVe; lat. servilis 1 ♦ Didact. Propre aux esclaves et aux serfs, à leur état. Condition, travail servile. Théol. Œuvres serviles (opposé à libérales) : travaux manuels. 2 ♦ Fig. (plus cour.) Qui a un caractère de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Servile — Serv ile, a. [L. servile, fr. servus a servant or slave: cf. F. servile. See {Serve}.] 1. Of or pertaining to a servant or slave; befitting a servant or a slave; proceeding from dependence; hence, meanly submissive; slavish; mean; cringing;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • servile — Servile. adj. de tout genre. Qui appartient à l estat, à la fonction d un valet. Employ servile. homme de condition servile. On dit fig. Une ame, un esprit servile, pour dire, Une ame basse, un esprit qui a les sentimens, les manieres d agir d un …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • servile — late 14c., from L. servilis of a slave, servile, from servus slave (see SERVE (Cf. serve)). Earliest sense was legal, servile work being forbidden on the Sabbath; sense of cringing, fawning first recorded c.1600 …   Etymology dictionary

  • servile — [sʉr′vəl, sʉr′vīl΄] adj. [ME < L servilis < servus, slave: see SERF] 1. of a slave or slaves 2. like that of slaves or servants [servile employment] 3. like or characteristic of a slave; humbly yielding or submissive; cringing; abject 4.… …   English World dictionary

  • Servile — Serv ile, n. (Gram.) An element which forms no part of the original root; opposed to {radical}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • servile — I adjective abiectus, abject, compliant, deferential, downtrodden, fawning, groveling, harnessed, humble, humilis, ingratiating, low, mean, meek, menial, obedient, obeisant, obsequious, passive, prostrate, respectful, servilis, slavish, subject,… …   Law dictionary

  • servile — agg. [dal lat. servilis, der. di servus servo ]. 1. [di servo, proprio dei servi] ▶◀ schiavile. ◀▶ padronale. 2. a. (estens., spreg.) [di azione, comportamento, ecc., che asseconda la volontà altrui, spec. dei potenti, per viltà, interesse e… …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • servile — *subservient, menial, slavish, obsequious Analogous words: *mean, abject, ignoble: fawning, cringing, truckling, cowering (see FAWN) Antonyms: authoritative …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • servile — [adj] grovelling, subservient abject, base, beggarly, bootlicking, craven, cringing, despicable, eating crow*, eating humble pie*, fawning, humble, ignoble, low, mean, obedient, obeisant, obsequious, passive, slavish, submissive, sycophantic,… …   New thesaurus

  • servile — ► ADJECTIVE 1) excessively willing to serve or please others. 2) of or characteristic of a slave or slaves. DERIVATIVES servilely adverb servility noun. ORIGIN Latin servilis, from servus slave …   English terms dictionary