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Definition submissive — typically excessively so (so submissive or eager to serve and please that one seems to have no self-respect)


relating to the work that requires obeying demeaning commands


slave-like or relating to slaves

You might want to remember this as sounding similar to servant. Both words come from the Latin word for slave (servus).
  • We expect our waiters to give world-class service, but not to be so servile they sacrifice their human dignity.
servile = excessively submissive
  • The country has a servile press.
  • servile = excessively submissive
  • She acknowledged her submission in a servile tone.
  • servile = excessively submissive
  • To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
    Theodore Roosevelt (26th US President)
  • servile = excessively submissive
  • He heard the fawning servility in his own voice but was unable to control it.
    Stephen King  --  The Shining
  • servility = excessive submissiveness (showing a lack self-respect)
  • I grew to like these mountain people, silent, reserved, never servile...
    Jean Rhys  --  Wide Sargasso Sea
  • servile = excessively submissive
  • never had he been so servile at the search but now he wanted to show he was innocent—Come on, frisk me!
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn  --  One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
  • servile = submissive (in obeying demeaning commands)
  • He obeyed then, but the strength of his desire protested against the servility of his conduct;
    Gustave Flaubert  --  Madame Bovary
  • servility = submissiveness
  • "Are you guilty?" said Winston.
    "Of course I'm guilty!" cried Parsons with a servile glance at the telescreen. "You don't think the Party would arrest an innocent man, do you? ... Thoughtcrime is a dreadful thing,"
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • servile = excessively submissive
  • From imposition of strict laws to free
    Acceptance of large grace; from servile fear
    To filial;
    John Milton  --  Paradise Lost
  • servile = excessively submissive — with no self-respect
  • Yes, but I had only the credit of servilely copying such sentences as I was ashamed to put my name to.
    Jane Austen  --  Sense and Sensibility
  • servilely = demeaningly obeying commands
  • She also is dressed with great neatness, and her white, delicate hands betray very little acquaintance with servile toil.
    Harriet Beecher Stowe  --  Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • servile = appropriate for a servant or slave
  • I did not, however, aim at gaining his favour by paying any servile respect to him, but, after some time, took this other method.
    Benjamin Franklin  --  The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • servile = excessively submissive
  • The lieutenant took a look at the bowed servile figure on the bench.
    Graham Greene  --  The Power and the Glory
  • servile = submissive
  • I find myself liking only those who are servile.
    Ayn Rand  --  The Fountainhead
  • servile = submissive and eager to serve and please
  • I call you servile ministers
    William Shakespeare  --  King Lear
  • servile = submissive
  • But what they want though it smells of death and can be made of India-rubber, at least is not alive, has no will, is servile and won't revolt!
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  Crime and Punishment
  • servile = submissive
  • ...thou art servile to all the...
    William Shakespeare  --  Measure for Measure
  • servile = submissive
  • The effort succeeded, for an instant he unconsciously relapsed into his old servile manner, bent low before me, and actually fawned upon me as he replied.
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • servile = submissive
  • Then, what submission, what cringing and fawning, what servility, what abject humiliation!
    Charles Dickens  --  A Tale of Two Cities
servility = behavior of someone who is so excessively submissive or eager to please that they seem to lack self-respect

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