Definition of docile in US English:



  • Ready to accept control or instruction; submissive.

    ‘a cheap and docile workforce’
    • ‘The drive was superb, tight, controllable, plenty of power but docile as a kitten after a big meal when simply pootling along.’
    • ‘The goats are tiny and docile, and suffer well the pats and pokes of oversugared junior Americans.’
    • ‘This must have been what happened in England because we became docile servants of the Normans and fought their wars for them.’
    • ‘Fortunately he turned out to be remarkably docile and highly trained.’
    • ‘Others in the queue were excited primary school children, waiting in a surprisingly docile and patient way.’
    • ‘They turned to run, but the creatures seemed docile and did not attack.’
    • ‘Next morning, I joined a walking ride and the cowboys, or wranglers, as they call them here, gave me a very docile horse.’
    • ‘It was hoped by employers that the new working class would be more docile and amenable than the old.’
    • ‘It's going to be tough finding a dog as placid and docile as Sue, in fact, I don't think we will ever see the likes of her again.’
    • ‘If this is not done, those of us who call ourselves citizens will in reality be nothing more than docile instruments in the hands of distant powers.’
    • ‘Everyone who has ever been to the city's squares or parks will remember the lovely and docile pigeons.’
    • ‘They look like teddy bears, they are very docile and friendly, don't have escapologist tendencies and are quite small.’
    • ‘Just about anyone who was not entirely docile and subservient to the ruling ethos could be locked up for life.’
    • ‘You can be solitary and courageous, also docile and diplomatic when needed.’
    • ‘One of the scientists said that when he fed the chemical to lab rats, they would become completely meek and docile.’
    • ‘They are a very docile animal which in itself favours them to herd owners.’
    • ‘She has become more docile and sleepy in her old age, although sometimes she still gets a burst of energy, which is wonderful.’
    • ‘But those who had the guts to get close say that both the horses are docile and riding them is a wonderful experience.’
    • ‘While the Greek press is far from docile, it has generally been extremely supportive of the Games.’
    • ‘However, Adrian points out that even the most docile, harmless household pet can turn into a monster.’
    compliant, obedient, pliant, dutiful, willing, passive, submissive, deferential, tame, meek, mild, lamblike, unassertive, unresisting, yielding, cooperative, amenable, accommodating, biddable, persuadable, ductile, manageable, controllable, tractable, malleable, manipulable, easily manipulated, easily handled, like putty in one's hands
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Late 15th century (in the sense ‘apt or willing to learn’): from Latin docilis, from docere ‘teach’.