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From Latin obsequiōsus (complaisant, obsequious) [1], from obsequium (compliance), from obsequor (comply with, yield to), from ob (in the direction of, towards) + sequor (follow) (see sequel).


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /əbˈsiːkwi.əs/
  • (file)


obsequious (comparative more obsequious, superlative most obsequious)

  1. (archaic) Obedient; compliant with someone else's orders or wishes.
  2. Excessively eager and attentive to please or to obey instructions; fawning, subservient, servile.
    • 1912, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World[1]:
      Personally I felt shy and uncomfortable at this obsequious adoration, and I read the same feeling in the faces of Roxton and Summerlee, but Challenger expanded like a flower in the sun.
    • 1927, Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, p. 20
      Translation falls especially short of this conceit which carries the whole flamboyance of the Spanish language. It was intended as an obsequious flattery of the Condesa, and was untrue.
    • 1930, Norman Lindsay, Redheap, Sydney: Ure Smith, published 1965, page 118:
      [S]he complained pettishly of the heat and the flies and at length of the walk, and reduced Robert to the antics of an obsequious dog.
  3. (obsolete) Of or pertaining to obsequies, funereal.


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  1. ^ Douglas Harper, “obsequious”, in Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2021.