servile

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • adj servile submissive or fawning in attitude or behavior "spoke in a servile tone","the incurably servile housekeeper","servile tasks such as floor scrubbing and barn work"
    • adj servile relating to or involving slaves or appropriate for slaves or servants "Brown's attempt at servile insurrection","the servile wars of Sicily","servile work"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Servile (Gram) An element which forms no part of the original root; -- opposed to radical.
    • Servile Held in subjection; dependent; enslaved. "Even fortune rules no more, O servile land!"
    • Servile (Gram) Not belonging to the original root; as, a servile letter.
    • Servile (Gram) Not itself sounded, but serving to lengthen the preceeding vowel, as e in tune.
    • Servile Of or pertaining to a servant or slave; befitting a servant or a slave; proceeding from dependence; hence, meanly submissive; slavish; mean; cringing; fawning; as, servile flattery; servile fear; servile obedience. "She must bend the servile knee.""Fearing dying pays death servile breath."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • servile Of or pertaining to slaves or servants.
    • servile Consisting or made up of slaves; belonging to the class of slaves; held in subjection; dependent.
    • servile Pertaining or appropriate to a slave or dependent; fit or proper for a slave.
    • servile Resembling a slave or dependent; characteristic or worthy of a slave; slavish; hence, mean-spirited; cringing; base; lacking independence.
    • servile Obedient; subject.
    • servile In grammar, of secondary or subordinate character; not independent, but answering an orthographic purpose.
    • n servile A slave; a menial.
    • n servile In grammar, a servile element, whether sound or character; a non-radical element.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Servile sėr′vīl pertaining to a slave or servant: slavish: meanly submissive: cringing: obedient:
    • n Servile a slave, a menial
    • adj Servile sėr′vīl (gram.) secondary or subordinate
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Quotations

  • Ben Johnson
    Ben%20Johnson
    “Force works on servile natures, not the free.”
  • Noam Chomsky
    Noam%20Chomsky
    “The intellectual tradition is one of servility to power, and if I didn't betray it I'd be ashamed of myself.”
  • Epicurus
    Epicurus
    “A free life cannot acquire many possessions, because this is not easy to do without servility to mobs or monarchs...”
  • Lord Byron
    Lord%20Byron
    “Sincerity may be humble, but she cannot be servile.”
  • Georges Bataille
    Georges%20Bataille
    “The sovereign being is burdened with a servitude that crushes him, and the condition of free men is deliberate servility.”

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. servile, fr. servus, a servant or slave: cf. F. servile,. See Serve

Usage

In literature:

Parliament tried respectful remonstrances in vain; the cardinal thought himself safe in the servility of the nation.
"The World's Greatest Books, Vol X" by Various
This privilege entailed additional servility.
"The Man Who Laughs" by Victor Hugo
And his contempt for Mr. Bryany was that of a man to whom his bankers are positively servile.
"The Regent" by E. Arnold Bennett
He erected servile trophies to Caesar, and prepared costly games in which men were condemned to fight with wild beasts.
"The World's Greatest Books, Vol XI." by Edited by Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton
We have seen the crawling servility with which Gov.
"Personal Recollections of Pardee Butler" by Pardee Butler
Hence would follow, as he admirably expresses it, "a reluctant understanding," and a "servile hand.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. CCCXXVIII. February, 1843. Vol. LIII." by Various
I'm an administrator myself, but we've had a little fuss with our Serviles.
"A Diversity of Creatures" by Rudyard Kipling
For the Church made the pious emperor decree that on Sundays and saints' days no servile or other works should be done.
"Medieval People" by Eileen Edna Power
Controlled by superstition, and exalting a servile obedience to human authority, he became a very unsafe guide in political affairs.
"A Short History of Monks and Monasteries" by Alfred Wesley Wishart
The status of the clerk was then of no servile character.
"The Parish Clerk (1907)" by Peter Hampson Ditchfield
The people in Socotora on which the king depends are Arabs, the original natives of the island being kept under a most servile slavery.
"A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. VIII." by Robert Kerr
We may be its willing subject on the one hand, or its servile slave on the other.
"Searchlights on Health" by B. G. Jefferis and J. L. Nichols
Nor do I think that servility to archaeology on the stage is an unmixed good.
"The Drama" by Henry Irving
Yet I would not that servile and laborious employment should be forced upon the young.
"The American Frugal Housewife" by Lydia M. Child
From his feet, the member of inferiority, proceeded the Sudras, or servile caste.
"Dr. Scudder's Tales for Little Readers, About the Heathen." by Dr. John Scudder
However, the motto, "Impudence rather than servility," was not discarded.
"Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 5 (of 14)" by Elbert Hubbard
Is any misadventure big enough to ruffle my peace, or to make my mind mean, craving and servile?
"The Worlds Greatest Books, Volume XIII." by Various
Yes, Aias was the man, and I too there Kept rank, the 'barbarous mother's servile son.
"The Seven Plays in English Verse" by Sophocles
This servility may have consoled Philip for the deprivation of his hair.
"Charles the Bold" by Ruth Putnam
It was corrupt, servile, selfish, cruel.
"Handbook of Home Rule (1887)" by W. E. Gladstone et al.
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In poetry:

By oppression's woes and pains,
By your sons in servile chains,
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!
"Scots Wha Hae " by Robert Burns
It is not love—averse to bear
The servile chain that lovers wear;
Let, let me all my fears remove,
My doubts dispel—it is not love.
"Song XI. - Perhaps it is not love" by William Shenstone
But never shall my fate be twin'd
With that of one, whose fame is blasted;
Whose word is as the idle wind;
Whose days in servile guilt are wasted !
"Take Back Thy Ring" by Eliza Acton
How plead their cause in burning words?
How arm'd in just rebellion rise? —
Where gleam a million servile swords,
Where Drown for prey a million spies.
"The Beauteous Terrorist" by Sir Henry Parkes
Let boys want pleasure, and men
Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
Yours is not theirs.
"Be Angry At The Sun" by Robinson Jeffers
That we may love each other through our eyes
Let us our glances lave, and make them clear,
Of all the thousand glances that they here
Have met, in this base world of servile lies.
"Excerpts from "LES HEURES CLAIRES" (English translations)" by Emile Verhaeren

In news:

Despotism debases the oppressed much more than the oppressor: in absolute monarchies the king has often great virtues, but the courtiers are invariably servile.
Servants, Not Servile One congressman seizes the moment.
The first time I turned on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) was, inauspiciously enough, during its spring Praise-a-thon, an exhibition of servile begging and naked greed worthy of a PBS pledge drive.
The chair is a servile object, made to support human forms of all sizes and status levels.
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