serv- (slave)

(Latin: servire, to serve, to be a slave; slave; slavery)

From Latin servire, to be a slave, to serve; from servus, slave, which is an Etruscan loan word. Of course, the modern use of "serve" has gone beyond the "slavery" aspect, but we are considering the etymology of the words which apparently came from the original idea of "slavery".

This Latin serv- is not related to another serv-, -serve which means "to save, to preserve".

Subordinate, subject to rule.
servile (adjective), more servile, most servile
1. Descriptive of a person and his or her attitude which shows an excessive willingness to fully agree to do whatever another person wants to have done: Some people think that Janet is a great wife because she has a servile manner and doesn't argue with her husband.
3. Relating to degrading work that is considered fit only for servants or enslaved laborers: Some servile individuals are too often taken advantage of by other people.
3. Etymology: from Latin servilis, servus, "slave".
Pertaining to a slavish attitude or being overly submissive to another person.
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In the spirit of a slave; with servile fear or submission; cringingly.
1. A servant or attendant.
2. A (male) personal or domestic attendant (in early use chiefly, one who waited at a table); a man-servant.
servitude (s) (noun), servitudes (pl)
1. The unfortunate situation of being a slave: In the United States, servitude was in existence until 1865 when the African people were freed according to the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.
2. The plight or predicament of being ruled or dominated by someone or something: Richard suffered from his servitude and subjugation to alcoholic beverages, causing him to lose all of his friends and acquaintances.
3. Work imposed as a punishment for a crime: Having been been found guilty and sent to prison, Bradford was forced to do servitude as a hard laborer.
4. A situation in which people were slaves or serfs by being the property of other people; absence of personal freedom: In the times of feudalism, there were many in that span of time who were in servitude as workers for, and to do the wishes, of those who were in power.
Forced labor or submission to a master.
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subservient (adjective), more subservient, most subservient
1. Pertaining to an excessive eagerness to follow the wishes or orders of others: Helene's subservient behavior belied her real intent, which was to learn the housekeeper's role and then to take over the position.
2. A reference to being in a position of secondary importance: The research assistant was unhappy with his subservient position in the botany department at the university.
3. Abjectly submissive; characteristic of a slave or attendant: The domestic was trained to be subservient and always bowed and backed out of the room where the king and queen were located.
Helpful or of service; especially, in an inferior or a subordinate capacity; servile.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
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