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[sur-vuh nt] /ˈsɜr vənt/
a person employed by another, especially to perform domestic duties.
a person in the service of another.
a person employed by the government:
a public servant.
1175-1225; Middle English < Old French, noun use of present participle of servir to serve; see -ant
Related forms
servantless, adjective
servantlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for servants
  • It is the taxpayer paying unionized civil servants at the point of a gun in both examples.
  • Also, since so many aristocrats fled or were executed, their former cooks and servants had to find new employment.
  • The czar's servants carried the opulent dishes, perfume bottles and other personal items directly to the czar's private chamber.
  • People used olive oil rather than soap to wash, so the water needed to be periodically skimmed by servants.
  • Typically, they traveled by luxury steamer and coach, with servants and trunks in tow.
  • If you're rich, you put up a tent and you had servants.
  • Making ice cream also took hours, so it helped to have servants who could do it.
  • Horses have been our faithful servants, our tireless comrades, and our loyal friends.
  • All the gods had their own families and servants, also made up of gods.
  • One family lived in each house, often with a coterie of servants and rickshaw pullers.
British Dictionary definitions for servants


a person employed to work for another, esp one who performs household duties
Derived Forms
servant-like, adjective
Word Origin
C13: via Old French, from servant serving, from servir to serve
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 servants



c.1200, "personal or domestic attendant," from Old French servant "servant; foot-soldier," noun use of servant "serving, waiting," present participle of servir "to attend, wait upon" (see serve (v.)).

Meaning "professed lover, one devoted to the service of a lady" is from mid-14c. In North American colonies and U.S., the usual designation for "slave" 17c.-18c. (in 14c.-15c. and later in Biblical translations the word often was used to render Latin servus, Greek doulos "slave"). Public servant is attested from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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