Obsequious refers to being excessively eager to please or obey someone, often in a way that is insincere or cringing.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



servile, sycophantic, subservient, fawning, groveling, toadying, ingratiating, bootlicking, flattering.


Assertive, independent, self-reliant, self-assertive, self-assured, confident.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun obsequiousness, obsequiousnesses
Verb None
Adjective obsequious
Adverb obsequiously

Example Sentences

  • The new employee kept making obsequious comments to the boss in order to impress him, even though it made the other coworkers uncomfortable.

  • The wealthy investor expected her subordinates to be obsequious and deferential to her every whim, and would not tolerate any opposition.

  • The waitress was tired of dealing with obsequious customers who treated her like a servant and didn’t respect her as a person.

  • The politician’s obsequious attitude towards the wealthy donors made many voters suspicious and skeptical of his intentions.


Obsequious is a term often used to describe people who are overly eager to please someone in a way that is insincere or demeaning. The word itself comes from the Latin word “obsequiosus,” which means “compliant” or “ready to serve,” and is related to the word “obsequy,” which means a funeral rite or a dutiful act.

The word obsequious can be used to criticize someone who is seen as overly eager to please or flatter another person, often at the expense of their own self-respect or dignity. For example, a salesperson who tries to sell you a product by being excessively nice, friendly, and accommodating may come across as obsequious rather than genuinely helpful.

The prefix “ob-” in obsequious means “towards,” while the suffix “-ious” means “full of” or “having the qualities of”. Other words that use the same suffix include “gracious,” “spacious,” and “vicious.” The root word “sequi” means “to follow,” and can be seen in other words such as “sequel,” “sequence,” and “consequence.”

Overall, the term obsequious can be used to describe behavior that is seen as overly submissive, ingratiating, or servile. While some people may see obsequiousness as a positive trait that can help to build relationships or achieve goals, others view it as a negative characteristic that can undermine one’s self-respect and lead to exploitation.