Definition of submissive in US English:



  • Ready to conform to the authority or will of others; meekly obedient or passive.

    ‘a submissive, almost sheeplike people’
    • ‘But patients are not the unquestioning, submissive breed they once were.’
    • ‘She said he made the entire family proud by challenging the court and that he was never scared or submissive.’
    • ‘I handed the boots, my letter and the reply to a pleasant, submissive sales assistant who went to fetch a manager.’
    • ‘It's too bad that some men feel they can only express their submissive side by taking on the identity of a woman.’
    • ‘She is warlike and aggressive, not submissive and unassertive.’
    • ‘They must have given him some powerful drugs to have him so submissive and humble.’
    • ‘The prisoners were all perfectly submissive and paid every deference to the wishes of those in whose custody they were placed.’
    • ‘They seem to have all the makings of a weak, submissive government.’
    • ‘He is likely quite uncomfortable about the prospects of appearing weak, submissive or passive.’
    • ‘At the feast which follows the three bridegrooms wager on whose wife is the most docile and submissive.’
    • ‘There is, and always has been, a lot more to women than the meek, submissive weaklings that we have been made out to be throughout the centuries.’
    • ‘Steve had played games with her mind, and she had been meek and submissive.’
    • ‘If it is sweet, servile and submissive, a new dog could bully your first dog into a life of fear and despair.’
    • ‘Girls grew up knowing that they had to be hardworking and submissive so that they could find good husbands who would take good care of them.’
    • ‘They were not passive, submissive clients but positive enthusiasts, with a common agenda.’
    • ‘Basically, I would be much more passive, submissive and altruistic.’
    • ‘I think it is just they are not aware of pressurising you to make you conform or to make you submissive.’
    • ‘Gentle and debonair in manners, he knows how to be a submissive husband and cater to the needs of his sweetheart.’
    • ‘Dee believed the Angels to be obedient servants of God, submissive to the authority of Christ.’
    • ‘He shows that slaves who seemed submissive and passive were cleverly using the language of their masters and subverting it to their own ends.’
    compliant, yielding, malleable, acquiescent, accommodating, amenable, tractable, manageable, unassertive, non-resisting, passive, obedient, biddable, dutiful, duteous, docile, ductile, pliant, meek, timid, mild, patient, resigned, forbearing, subdued, humble, self-effacing, spiritless, deferential, obsequious, servile, slavish, self-abasing, spineless, grovelling, lamblike, supine
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Late 16th century: from submission, on the pattern of pairs such as remission, remissive.