Definition of permissive in English:

permissive

adjective

  • 1Allowing or characterized by great or excessive freedom of behaviour:

    ‘a permissive parent’
    ‘the permissive society of the 60s and 70s’
    • ‘We live in a society today far more permissive than the one my parents grew up in.’
    • ‘We seem to be living in a much more permissive society than our parents and grandparents did.’
    • ‘Some critics even believed that he and his staff were actively promoting a more permissive society.’
    • ‘Liberal writers from the permissive society of the 1960s are quoted and their opinions are taken to have been effective.’
    • ‘Two men, you might argue, played a much greater part in creating the permissive, liberal society, and neither of them were baby boomers.’
    • ‘For students who indicated that their parents had a permissive style, an average of 4.5 relevant items were chosen.’
    • ‘You do not have to give up your authority as a parent or be permissive to parent in a more cooperative way.’
    • ‘This parent is permissive and tends to be lenient.’
    • ‘Society is fairly permissive about entertainment today.’
    • ‘Parents with a permissive attitude show acceptance/involvement but not control/supervision.’
    • ‘There's a difference between a tolerant society and a permissive society.’
    • ‘What is interesting is that you find one parent too permissive and the other too controlling.’
    • ‘The parents were permissive with or neglectful of their children, and the adolescents had developed a certain degree of independence.’
    • ‘Children of permissive parents tended to be relatively immature.’
    • ‘Parents who are overly permissive, who give in to obnoxious or demanding children, are letting them know that bullying pays off.’
    • ‘The permissive society has taught people to think in terms of the immediate gratification of desires and appetites.’
    • ‘We now treat standards and law and order as a threat to our permissive society.’
    • ‘Parents can be very permissive; they probably don't want confrontation.’
    • ‘The 1960s, beat music and the permissive society seem centuries away.’
    • ‘Do you ever feel that society is becoming too permissive?’
    liberal, broad-minded, open-minded, non-restrictive, free, free and easy, easy-going, live-and-let-live, latitudinarian, laissez-faire, libertarian, unprescriptive, unrestricted, tolerant, forbearing, indulgent, lenient
    overindulgent, lax, soft
    View synonyms
  • 2Law
    Allowed but not obligatory; optional:

    ‘the Hague Convention was permissive, not mandatory’
    • ‘It is, however, to be noted that the power under s.14 is permissive and discretionary.’
    • ‘It is true that many fundamental or Constitutional rights are, by their very nature, expressed in permissive, rather than mandatory terms.’
    • ‘The court below read down the Act as permissive because the rules are permissive.’
    • ‘The legislation is permissive, not mandatory.’
    • ‘The courts have held that, where the applicable legislation is permissive, an employer's right to take a contribution holiday will be determined by the provisions of the Plan.’
    1. 2.1 Denoting a path available for public use by the landowner's consent, not as a legal right of way:
      ‘using permissive footpaths, you can visit meadows on both the banks of the river’
      • ‘After a day of gentle climbs there is the need to get back up the top of Cawthorne Bank which is done via a nice permissive path up through woods.’
      • ‘Ignore the first gate but go through the second and follow a permissive path which leads straight along the river bank.’
      • ‘There are no waymarks for a while, which is irritating on a permissive path.’
      • ‘The complete route is along public rights of way, permissive paths and in an open access area.’
      • ‘Similar changes will be made to the orange-coloured symbols that indicate permissive paths.’
  • 3Biology
    Allowing a biological or biochemical process to occur:

    ‘the mutants grow well at the permissive temperature’
    • ‘Cells were grown at a permissive temperature to midlog phase and then shifted to restrictive temperature.’
    • ‘Incubation was at permissive temperatures for 3 days.’
    • ‘The cells released at the permissive temperature entered S phase and continued to cycle.’
    • ‘These periods can be determined by using shift experiments, in which cultures are shifted between the permissive and restrictive temperature.’
    • ‘Cells incubated at the permissive temperature demonstrated the typical ‘hill and valley’ appearance.’
    1. 3.1 Allowing the infection and replication of viruses:
      ‘in vivo, viral expression is restricted but in vitro, cultured cells are permissive’
      • ‘Finally, the two suppressors at codon 378 are both permissive for all bacteriophages tested at either 37° or 43°.’
      • ‘The very immune cells that are activated to destroy the virus provide a permissive environment for virus propagation and persistence.’
      • ‘Endothelial cells are permissive to infection, but they appear to be secondary targets of the virus in infected NHP.’
      • ‘Wild populations are regularly polymorphic for its two known alleles, O permissive and P restrictive, for virus multiplication and transmission.’
      • ‘Although it is a benign inhabitant of mucosal surfaces in most individuals, it is a significant cause of infection when host or environmental factors are permissive.’

Origin

Late 15th century (in the sense ‘tolerated, allowed’): from Old French, or from medieval Latin permissivus, from permiss- allowed, from the verb permittere (see permit).

Pronunciation:

permissive

/pəˈmɪsɪv/