servile | servility

Exam frequency





Civil Services



too eager to please others

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servile - fawning

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If a person is ‘servile’, they are compliant and obedient in a fawning, submissive way. Sometimes this is a tactic to win favour, other times it is as a result of a character flaw. Either way, the word is always used negatively and with disapproval. A good way to remember how to use it is to link ‘servile’ with ‘servant’, both of which have their roots in the Latin word servus meaning ‘slave’.

Antonyms dismissive,imperious,domineering

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  1. It is important for you to try and impress the prospective client without appearing in any way servile.

  2. Sandra is fiercely loyal but without any hint of servility. If she thinks I have done something wrong she is always quick to tell me.

  3. Gary thinks that his servile attitude to the boss will get him that promotion. He’s forgetting that nobody respects a person who acts that way.

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