Share this entry


Synonyms of obedient in English:


  • Lucinda had always been very obedient
    [Antonyms] disobedient, rebellious, unruly
  • Choose the right word

    obedient, biddable, docile, compliant, dutiful
    Children and animals may be expected to be obedient, but nowadays the word is seldom used to describe adults without an implication of subservience ( ‘I was waiting for you to tell me. The obedient wife,’ she said) except when it is used of obedience to rules, the law, or a faith ( she seeks to be obedient to the Lord).The critical note is still stronger in biddable: a biddable person (typically a woman or girl) is excessively meek and ready to obey any instruction, without questioning either its wisdom or the authority of the person giving it ( she'd been so meek, so biddable to this man). It is also used of animals ( the golden retriever is both biddable and intelligent).Docile, being used more commonly of animals, has similar implications, but in addition to unquestioning obedience it suggests a general reluctance to complain or rebel, even where such behaviour would be justified ( employers depended on the regime for a cheap and docile workforce).Compliant means ‘disposed to agree with others or obey rules’ and typically has a disparaging tone, criticising the compliant person for not having the willpower to stand up for themselves and show some independence by expressing their own views ( compliant MPs loyally following party policy).Even dutiful, though applied to a large extent to family members (daughter, son, wife, parent, mother, father), may suggest a dull but worthy individual or the perfunctory fulfilment of an obligation ( a dutiful postcard to his mother).
    Share this entry

    What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

    Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.