subservience

Something that serves a purpose for someone or something else demonstrates subservience.

Something that's a means to an end has subservience, like a character whose introduction has subservience to the book's plot. You can also use the word subservience to describe submissive or servile behavior, like the subservience of an obedient dog who always fetches your slippers. The word originally meant simply "usefulness," and it came from the Latin root word subservientem, "assist, or lend support."

Definitions of subservience
  1. noun
    the condition of being something that is useful in reaching an end or carrying out a plan
    “all his actions were in subservience to the general plan”
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    type of:
    condition, status
    a state at a particular time
  2. noun
    in a subservient state
    synonyms: subservientness
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    type of:
    subordinateness, subsidiarity
    secondary importance
  3. noun
    abject or cringing submissiveness
    synonyms: obsequiousness, servility
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    types:
    sycophancy
    fawning obsequiousness
    type of:
    submissiveness
    the trait of being willing to yield to the will of another person or a superior force etc.
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