from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Abjectly submissive; slavish.
  • adj. Of or suitable to a slave or servant.
  • adj. Of or relating to servitude or forced labor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. of or pertaining to a slave
  • adj. submissive or slavish
  • n. An element which forms no part of the original root.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to a servant or slave; befitting a servant or a slave; proceeding from dependence; hence, meanly submissive; slavish; mean; cringing; fawning
  • adj. Held in subjection; dependent; enslaved.
  • adj.
  • adj. Not belonging to the original root.
  • adj. Not itself sounded, but serving to lengthen the preceeding vowel, as e in tune.
  • n. An element which forms no part of the original root; -- opposed to radical.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to slaves or servants.
  • Consisting or made up of slaves; belonging to the class of slaves; held in subjection; dependent.
  • Pertaining or appropriate to a slave or dependent; fit or proper for a slave.
  • Resembling a slave or dependent; characteristic or worthy of a slave; slavish; hence, mean-spirited; cringing; base; lacking independence.
  • Obedient; subject.
  • In grammar, of secondary or subordinate character; not independent, but answering an orthographic purpose.
  • n. A slave; a menial.
  • n. In grammar, a servile element, whether sound or character; a non-radical element.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. submissive or fawning in attitude or behavior
  • adj. relating to or involving slaves or appropriate for slaves or servants


Middle English, from Latin servīlis, from servus, slave.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin servīlis. (Wiktionary)



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