Definition of slavish in US English:



  • 1Relating to or characteristic of a slave, typically by behaving in a servile or submissive way.

    ‘he noted the slavish, feudal respect they had for her’
    • ‘Not only did the agreement go from ‘ignoble’ to ‘long-overdue,’ but the Frist commendation went from muted to slavish.’
    • ‘I guess that means that I am a slavish follower of the ‘in’ crowd that I accepted an invitation to the Adelaide Festival of Arts 2006 program launch at the airport.’
    • ‘A variety of public institutions with stands at the festival seem to have tried to outdo each other in their sycophancy and slavish devotion.’
    • ‘Our dependence on these foreign goods leads us to our slavish respect for numbers.’
    • ‘Such slavish acceptance of Santa as fact may well be happily entertaining for parents, but a build-up of dangerously pure faith brings with it the threat of a crushing letdown when that heart - warming belief is shattered.’
    • ‘Bacon emphasized that this ordeal of experiment was to be heroic testing, not the torture of a slavish and submissive victim.’
    • ‘And except for a few slavish devotees too intimidated by her will and less concerned with her methods, it's difficult to come away without becoming more powerful and original, yourself.’
    • ‘Travel stories can be a dodgy proposition, quite often varying between the detached, amused air of Western superiority and the slavish worship of all things foreign.’
    • ‘For the first time in decades, for example, governors and legislators under fiscal pressure are rethinking their slavish devotion to pouring massive funds into state university systems.’
    • ‘It shows a society that, white or red, encourages rapacity, self-deception and slavish respect for authority.’
    • ‘Wu Xun, it was argued, had in his slavish dependence on the feudal upper classes helped to perpetuate the old system and had actually helped to propagate its ideology among his fellow peasants.’
    • ‘But like Saint Augustine, I eventually came to realize the double-minded futility of pretending to exalt Reason while spending my days in slavish service to Kundalini and the lizard brain.’
    • ‘It is time Bulgarian media threw off their slavish following of manipulated arguments from those in power and see with their own eyes.’
    • ‘It is a vindication that the colonial mindset and slavish mentality are still alive among some Indians.’
    • ‘Yesterday in the face of all this, even the state-owned Herald newspaper was finding it difficult to maintain its usual slavish support for government policies.’
    • ‘The truth is she can hardly imagine it, being so wrapped up in the day-to-day dance between her two sports and her slavish devotion to staying young and fit.’
    • ‘Had the administration paid heed to public opinion, not out of slavish deference but out of respect, we would've seen a different tax cut, and, with any luck, a sustainable popular majority for conservatism.’
    • ‘For all of Kumaratunga's talk of ‘a partnership’ with the US, the real relationship is one of slavish subservience in all spheres - economic, political and military.’
    • ‘It is rather pitiful that Cork hospitals are being so slavish in considering following the lead set down by Dublin.’
    • ‘Steve looked at them with contemptuous pity, these men that lived narrow, slavish lives in cooped-up places, men caught in ruts, graves with both ends kicked out…’
    servile, subservient, fawning, obsequious, sycophantic, excessively deferential, toadying, ingratiating, unctuous, grovelling, cringing, toadyish, sycophantish, abject, craven, humble, uriah heepish, self-abasing
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    1. 1.1 Showing no attempt at originality, constructive interpretation, or development.
      ‘a slavish adherence to protocol’
      • ‘There is a difference, he observes, between intelligent decentralized decisionmaking and slavish imitation.’
      • ‘But Kenan Malik argues that slavish adherence to the multiculturalist approach denies us our freedoms and diversity.’
      • ‘There are those who believe that perhaps we've confused our responsibilities with the slavish adherence to the Lecoup strategy.’
      • ‘‘After a decade of slavish adherence to central targets the evidence is that they simply don't work,’ said Mr Willis.’
      • ‘The Senate Democrats' slavish adherence to the doctrine of feminism has led them to seek to bar adherents to Catholic doctrine from certain judicial posts, in violation of the Constitution.’
      • ‘Not for Thompson a slavish adherence to prudence, that is considered imperative in a contracting football market.’
      • ‘Their route to the top 10 was simply via ear-grabbing originality, rather than slavish imitation of current trends.’
      • ‘If nothing else, they will get the reader thinking about how they can play the opening in chess in a way that doesn't require a slavish adherence to 10 or 20 moves of opening theory.’
      • ‘Nowadays, the emphasis has shifted to free-style, mixed-system practice where slavish adherence to traditional style is frowned upon, because it is seen to limit the survival options of a combatant.’
      • ‘The product either encourages slavish emulation of adult behavior, or assumes that what is enjoyable for children must be revolting for adults.’
      • ‘Divorcing it of its context would strip away much of that heady period glamour to produce a diluted facsimile - even with slavish adherence to the original scripts.’
      • ‘But if he's right, it's a strange situation - slavish adherence to a flawed assumption, which produces an outcome that pleases only one segment of the audience and alienates many.’
      • ‘This arises largely and insidiously from the slavish adoption here of virtually all Americanisms - some invaluable, the majority deplorable.’
      • ‘The provincial governments are not far behind in their slavish adherence to the OECD's dictums on how to run your government.’
      • ‘Thus far, especially in Scotland where the slavish adherence to the received wisdom of the unions is strongest, there is little sign of that thistle being grasped.’
      • ‘I am not suggesting for one moment that there is any moral equivalence between Tyson and Mandela, but a slavish adherence to the legal process ends up with the baby and the bathwater both getting chucked out.’
      • ‘Such new patterns or ornaments could be used both externally and internally in contemporary designs and break the slavish adherence to bare steel or frilly 19th century mimicry.’
      • ‘The plot, veering between slavish adherence and badly conceived alterations, has become incomprehensible, driven by coincidence of the implausible rather than that of the existential variety.’
      • ‘Perhaps they don't care, but that is contradicted by their slavish adherence to the latest fashions.’
      • ‘In their self-regard as the last keepers of the flame of Western culture, this ex-dissident class renders themselves slavish imitators.’
      unoriginal, uninspired, unimaginative, uninventive, non-innovative, imitative, derivative
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