Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “an obsequious smile.”
2. After a linking verb, as in "His smile was obsequious.”)
Someone or something obsequious is like an obedient, respectful, attentive servant. (And that's annoying.)
If you look at the roots in this word ("ob" + "sequi") you'll see that it literally means "following toward." (That explains why "obsequious" looks like other words about following: "sequence," "sequel," etc.) The obsequious person is always following someone else around, paying attention to that person and doing everything he says. It's worth repeating: obsequious behavior is annoying.
How to use it:
Be careful, because it's an insult to call someone or something obsequious. So when the situation calls for it, talk about an obsequious person, an obsequious manner or tone, an obsequious smile or bow, an obsequious but vacant gaze, an obsequious fan letter, an obsequious apology, an obsequious obsession, and so on.
Generally, we're obsequious toward a person. On occasion you might speak abstractly about, for example, your obsequious love for your car ("OMG, I wash it every day") or your obsequious organization of your bookshelves ("Hold on, the Faulkner novels are out of alphabetical order, gotta fix that.")
Try not to get irritated by his obsequious liking and commenting on every single thing you post to Facebook. He just idolizes you, and it's kind of sweet.
How do you deal with an obsequious employee or coworker who's so anxious to say "Yes!" to your idea that she's not even listening to it?
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "obsequious” means when you can explain it without saying “fawning" or “servile."
Think of a time you were so interested in someone that you had to watch what you were doing and saying so you wouldn't come off as creepy, and fill in the blanks: "Maybe it's time for me to tone down the obsequious _____ when I'm around (Person)."
Example: "Maybe it's time for me to tone down the obsequious guffawing at his jokes when I'm around him."
What, you're too cool to have ever acted obsequiously? Yeah, me too, *cough cough.* Okay, then instead, think of someone you know who's a teacher's pet or a boss's favorite, and fill in the blanks: "(Person) is always _____ing obsequiously when _____."
Example: "Cassandra is always shushing us obsequiously when the teacher tells us to be quiet."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
Our game for May is: “What Do These Words Have in Common?”
The three words given will have something specific in common. (More than one right answer might be possible, but I've only got one particular answer in mind for each set of words.) I've arranged the questions from easiest to hardest, so today’s should be fairly difficult. By the end of the month, expect some whoppers.
What do these words have in common?: march, depression, polish
Answer: All mean different things according to whether or not you capitalize them.
March: lowercase, it means “move forward;” uppercase, it means the month.
Depression: lowercase, it means “clinical sadness;” uppercase, it means the Great Depression.
Polish: lowercase, it means “shine;” uppercase, it means related to Poland.
Try this one today: gourmand, narcissist, bon vivant
A Point Well Made:
Elizabeth Lombardo: “‘It’s not failure, it’s data.’ Meaning: Every experience gives you information and insight that helps your decision-making process in future situations.”
1. The opposite of OBSEQUIOUS is
2. When she issues a demand, she expects an instant and obsequious "_____"
A. When do you want this done?
B. Yup, will do.
C. Yes, ma'am! Consider it done!
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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