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obsequious

[uh b-see-kwee-uh s] /əbˈsi kwi əs/
adjective
1.
characterized by or showing servile complaisance or deference; fawning:
an obsequious bow.
2.
servilely compliant or deferential:
obsequious servants.
3.
obedient; dutiful.
Origin
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin obsequiōsus, equivalent to obsequi(um) compliance (obsequ(ī) to comply with (ob- ob- + sequī to follow) + -ium -ium) + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
obsequiously, adverb
obsequiousness, noun
overobsequious, adjective
overobsequiously, adverb
overobsequiousness, noun
unobsequious, adjective
unobsequiously, adverb
unobsequiousness, noun
Can be confused
obsequies, obsequious.
Synonyms
1. sycophantic, flattering. 2. cringing, submissive. See servile.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for obsequious
  • His wealth nevertheless turns the townspeople into groveling, obsequious sycophants.
  • People are by turns obsequious, angry, and disingenuous.
  • The staff is charming and superb, being attentive without being obsequious.
  • One minute he is noisy and arrogant, the next he is obsequious and sly.
  • The courts strive for judicial review that is deferential but not so obsequious as to be meaningless.
  • It neither neglected the existing façade nor was it an obsequious response to it.
British Dictionary definitions for obsequious

obsequious

/əbˈsiːkwɪəs/
adjective
1.
obedient or attentive in an ingratiating or servile manner
2.
(rare) submissive or compliant
Derived Forms
obsequiously, adverb
obsequiousness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin obsequiōsus compliant, from obsequium compliance, from obsequi to follow, from ob- to + sequi to follow
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for obsequious
adj.

late 15c., "prompt to serve," from Middle French obséquieux (15c.), from Latin obsequiosus "compliant, obedient," from obsequium "compliance, dutiful service," from obsequi "to accommodate oneself to the will of another," from ob "after" (see ob-) + sequi "to follow" (see sequel). Pejorative sense of "fawning, sycophantic" had emerged by 1590s. Related: Obsequiously; obsequiousness (mid-15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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