obsequious

adjective

an elderly gentlemen surrounded by obsequious heirs

Syn:
servile, ingratiating, sycophantic, fawning, unctuous, oily, oleaginous, groveling, cringing, subservient, submissive, slavish; informal brown-nosing, bootlicking, smarmy; vulgar slang ass-kissing
Ant:
domineering
••
obsequious, servile, slavish, subservient
If you want to get ahead with your boss, you might trying being obsequious, which suggests an attitude of inferiority that may or may not be genuine, but that is assumed in order to placate a superior in hopes of getting what one wants (a "goody two shoes" whose obsequious behavior made everyone in the class cringe). While subservient may connote similar behavior, it is more often applied to those who are genuinely subordinate or dependent and act accordingly (a timid, subservient child who was terrified of making a mistake). Servile is a stronger and more negative term, suggesting a cringing submissiveness (the dog's servile obedience to her master). Slavish, suggesting the status or attitude of a slave, is often used to describe strict adherence to a set of rules or a code of conduct (a slavish adherence to the rules of etiquette).

Thesaurus of popular words. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Obsequious — Ob*se qui*ous, a. [L. obsequiosus, fr. obsequium compliance, fr. obsequi, fr. obsequi: cf. F. obs[ e]quieux, See {Obsequent}, and cf. {Obsequy}.] 1. Promptly obedient, or submissive, to the will of another; compliant; yielding to the desires of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • obsequious — I adjective compilable, compliant, concessive, crawling, cringing, crouching, deferential, docile, enslaved, fawning, flattering, groveling, humble, ingratiating, obedient, scraping, servile, slavish, spineless, submissive, subordinate,… …   Law dictionary

  • obsequious — (adj.) late 15c., prompt to serve, from L. obsequiosus compliant, obedient, from obsequium compliance, dutiful service, from obsequi to accommodate oneself to the will of another, from ob after (see OB (Cf. ob )) + sequi to follow (see SEQUEL (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

  • obsequious — *subservient, servile, slavish, menial Analogous words: deferential, obeisant (see corresponding nouns at HONOR): *compliant, acquiescent: sycophantic, parasitic, toadyish (see corresponding nouns at PARASITE): cringing, fawning, truckling,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • obsequious — [adj] groveling, submissive abject, beggarly, brownnosing*, complacent, compliable, compliant, cringing, crouching, deferential, enslaved, fawning, flattering, ingratiating, kowtowing*, menial, obeisant, oily*, parasitic, parasitical, prostrate,… …   New thesaurus

  • obsequious — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree. DERIVATIVES obsequiously adverb obsequiousness noun. ORIGIN from Latin obsequium compliance , from obsequi follow, comply with …   English terms dictionary

  • obsequious — [əb sē′kwē əs, äbsē′kwē əs] adj. [ME obsequyouse < L obsequiosus < obsequium, compliance < obsequi, to comply with < ob (see OB ) + sequi, to follow: see SEQUENT] 1. showing too great a willingness to serve or obey; fawning 2. Archaic …   English World dictionary

  • obsequious — obsequiously, adv. obsequiousness, n. /euhb see kwee euhs/, adj. 1. characterized by or showing servile complaisance or deference; fawning: an obsequious bow. 2. servilely compliant or deferential: obsequious servants. 3. obedient; dutiful. [1375 …   Universalium

  • obsequious — [[t]ɒbsi͟ːkwiəs[/t]] ADJ GRADED (disapproval) If you describe someone as obsequious, you are criticizing them because they are too eager to help or agree with someone more important than them. Barrow was positively obsequious to me until he… …   English dictionary

  • obsequious — ob•se•qui•ous [[t]əbˈsi kwi əs[/t]] adj. characterized by or showing servile complaisance or deference; fawning; sycophantic: an obsequious bow; obsequious servants[/ex] • Etymology: 1375–1425; late ME < L obsequiōsus, der. of obsequium… …   From formal English to slang

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