Definition of subservient in English:

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Pronunciation: /səbˈsərvēənt/


1Prepared to obey others unquestioningly: she was subservient to her parents
More example sentences
  • Was there some hidden agenda to keep all us colonial subjects docile and subservient to the Great Empire by brainwashing our smarter students?
  • She is meek and subservient to the needs of her God.
  • They are worshipers of the culture of death, whose goal is one thing: to convert the world to their religion, thereby making everyone in the world subservient to them, to their ideals, to their power.
submissive, deferential, compliant, obedient, dutiful, biddable, docile, passive, unassertive, subdued, downtrodden
informal under someone's thumb
1.1Less important; subordinate: he expected her career to become subservient to his
More example sentences
  • While accountants take confidentiality seriously, as a core value it is subservient to their attestation role.
  • In other words, democracy must be subservient to economic growth, and unchecked government power is good for us.
  • The increasing economic value of education is good news in a society that strives to make economic opportunity subservient to individual merit, rather than family background.
subordinate, secondary, subsidiary, peripheral, ancillary, auxiliary, less important
1.2Serving as a means to an end: the whole narration is subservient to the moral plan of exemplifying twelve virtues in twelve knights
More example sentences
  • For much of the twentieth century, mandarins of the law viewed the courts as agents of social change and the law as contingent, evolutionary, and ultimately subservient to political expediency.
  • The way the Secretary of State is conducting his foreign policy, there is no doubt left that all the policy decisions are right now subservient to the need of capturing the terrorist.



Pronunciation: /səbˈsərvēəntlē/
Example sentences
  • Contrary to their high-handedness and overbearing behavior in handling cases involving powerless citizens, they subserviently knelt to pressure from the power elite, specifically influential figures in the ruling camp.
  • Others ‘play’ the leader's role by paying tremendous attention to what the leader does and by acting subserviently toward that person.
  • Bryan stepped in, bowed subserviently to Jason (also his employer) and left the tray he held on the small circular table I knelt next to.


Mid 17th century: from Latin subservient- 'subjecting to, complying with', from the verb subservire (see subserve).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sub·ser·vi·ent

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