Definition of servile in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsərvəl/
Pronunciation: /ˈsərˌvīl/


1Having or showing an excessive willingness to serve or please others: bowing his head in a servile manner
More example sentences
  • Being good at service means that we are servile and demeans our noble island spirit.
  • What precedent is there for such servile bootlicking?
  • There will be several servile sycophants who will come forward as ‘White Knights’ to regain their lost positions.
obsequious, sycophantic, deferential, subservient, fawning, ingratiating, unctuous, groveling, toadyish, slavish, humble, self-abasing
informal slimy, bootlicking, smarmy, sucky
2Of or characteristic of a slave or slaves.
Example sentences
  • Even after having spent so many years in the servile conditions of the workhouse, and then the brothel, I still had the urge to say my piece, but I'd learnt that sometimes it was wiser not to.
  • Over 30 percent of MGM's cartoons released between 1946 and 1953 presented either characters in blackface or servile African American maids.
  • ‘This is really a question of listeners equating machines with human beings who are being understood to perform servile functions,’ she said.



Pronunciation: /ˈsərvəlē/ Pronunciation: /ˈsərˌvīlˌlē/
Example sentences
  • Sahnasius was widely seen in the republic of letters as having betrayed his own earlier principles of intellectual independence by becoming too servilely and effusively monarchist.
  • But Jonson also echoes Horace's warning against imitating servilely.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'suitable for a slave or for the working class'): from Latin servilis, from servus 'slave'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ser·vile

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