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a. The quality or condition of being obedient.
b. The act of obeying.
a. A sphere of ecclesiastical authority.
b. A group of people under such authority.


1. the condition or quality of being obedient
2. the act or an instance of obeying; dutiful or submissive behaviour
3. (Ecclesiastical Terms) the authority vested in a Church or similar body
4. (Ecclesiastical Terms) the collective group of persons submitting to this authority. See also passive obedience


(oʊˈbi di əns)

1. the state or quality of being obedient.
2. the act or practice of obeying.
3. a sphere of ecclesiastical or secular authority or jurisdiction.
[1150–1200; Middle English < Old French < Latin]


The following words can all be used to describe someone who does what they are told and can be controlled easily:

1. indicating approval

Obedient usually shows approval, especially when you are talking about children or people who are under strict authority.

She was, on the whole, an obedient little girl.
Everyone ought to do military training. It would do them good and make them obedient.

Acquiescent, compliant, docile and submissive often show approval but are also sometimes used to indicate mild disapproval.

The soldiers were grateful and docile, and did not pester her.
...men who preferred their women to be submissive.

Acquiescent and compliant are formal words.

Some children seem to be totally acquiescent, always agreeing with the adult's view.
She was fed up with being eternally compliant.
2. indicating disapproval

Subservient and tame show mild disapproval.

His gesture of respect seemed old-fashioned and subservient.
I was too dull and ordinary a fellow, too tame for you.

Servile and slavish show strong disapproval.

For a student job he waited at table, but was demoted to washing up because his manner was not sufficiently servile.
...a slavish conformity to the styles of their classmates.
3. animals
He sometimes let her play with his tame gazelle.

Docile and obedient are also used to describe animals. When used like this, they show approval.

We call them wild horses, but they are docile, gentle creatures.
You cannot begin show jumping until your horse is obedient and supple.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.obedience - the act of obeyingobedience - the act of obeying; dutiful or submissive behavior with respect to another person
submission, compliance - the act of submitting; usually surrendering power to another
truckling - the act of obeying meanly (especially obeying in a humble manner or for unworthy reasons)
disobedience, noncompliance - the failure to obey
2.obedience - the trait of being willing to obeyobedience - the trait of being willing to obey  
tractability, tractableness, flexibility - the trait of being easily persuaded
submissiveness - the trait of being willing to yield to the will of another person or a superior force etc.
disobedience - the trait of being unwilling to obey
3.obedience - behavior intended to please your parents; "their children were never very strong on obedience"; "he went to law school out of respect for his father's wishes"
filial duty - duty of a child to its parents



1. The quality or state of willingly carrying out the wishes of others:
2. An act of willingly carrying out the wishes of others:
إذْعان، إمْتِثال للأوامِرطاعَه
itaatitaat etmesöz dinleme


A. Nobediencia f
to command obedienceinspirar obediencia
to owe obedience to sb (frm) → deber obediencia a algn
to show obedience to sb/sthobedecer a algn/algo
in obedience to your orders (frm) → conforme a or en cumplimiento de sus órdenes
in obedience to your wishes (frm) → obedeciendo a sus deseos
B. CPD obedience training Nadiestramiento m


nobéissance f
obedience to sb/sth → l'obéissance à qn/qch
obedience to the elders → l'obéissance aux aînés
obedience to the law → l'obéissance à la loi
in obedience to → conformément à
He did it in obedience to her wishes → Il l'a fait conformément à ses souhaits.
modif [class, training] → d'obéissance


n no plGehorsam m; in obedience to the lawdem Gesetz entsprechend; in obedience to your wishes (form)Ihren Wünschen gemäß; to teach somebody obediencejdn gehorchen lehren


[əˈbiːdɪəns] nubbidienza
in obedience to your orders (frm) → conformemente ai vostri ordini


(əˈbei) , ((American) ou-) verb
to do what one is told to do. I obeyed the order.
obedience (əˈbiːdjəns) noun
1. the act of obeying. obedience to an order.
2. willingness to obey. She showed great obedience.
oˈbedient adjective
an obedient and well-behaved child.
oˈbediently adverb


n. obediencia.
References in classic literature ?
Then justice, according to your argument, is not only obedience to the interest of the stronger but the reverse?
AT a consultation, held between Colonel Winslow and Captain Murray, [of the New England forces, charged with the duty of exiling the Acadians,] it was agreed that a proclamation should be issued at the different settlements, requiring the attendance of the people at the respective posts on the same day; which proclamation should be so ambiguous in its nature that the object for which they were to assemble could not be discerned, and so peremptory in its terms as to ensure implicit obedience.
Your restoration to peace will, I doubt not, speedily follow this act of filial obedience, and I flatter myself with the hope of surviving my share in this disappointment.
This, of all others, is the most powerful, most universal, and most attractive source of popular obedience and attachment.
Edna Pontellier could not have told why, wishing to go to the beach with Robert, she should in the first place have declined, and in the second place have followed in obedience to one of the two contradictory impulses which impelled her.
Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first colony in the Northerne Parts of Virginia; doe, by these Presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civill Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equall Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the Generall Good of the Colonie; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.
What pleasure I from such obedience paid, When Will and Reason (Reason also is choice) Useless and vain, of freedom both despoild, Made passive both, had servd necessitie, Not mee.
Tacit obedience implies no force upon the will, and consequently may be easily, and without any pains, preserved; but when a wife, a child, a relation, or a friend, performs what we desire, with grumbling and reluctance, with expressions of dislike and dissatisfaction, the manifest difficulty which they undergo must greatly enhance the obligation.
For which the astronomers (who have written large systems concerning the stone) assign the following reason: that the magnetic virtue does not extend beyond the distance of four miles, and that the mineral, which acts upon the stone in the bowels of the earth, and in the sea about six leagues distant from the shore, is not diffused through the whole globe, but terminated with the limits of the king's dominions; and it was easy, from the great advantage of such a superior situation, for a prince to bring under his obedience whatever country lay within the attraction of that magnet.
This submission and obedience brought the blessing of Heaven upon me; nevertheless, I continued indisposed a long time, and had many symptoms which made me fear that all the danger was not yet over.
In his sleep he arose, and, as if in obedience to some influence beyond and greater than himself, lifted the great trunk and set it on a strong table at one side of the room, from which he had previously removed a quantity of books.
His favourite subjects were church discipline, rites and ceremonies, apostolical succession, the duty of reverence and obedience to the clergy, the atrocious criminality of dissent, the absolute necessity of observing all the forms of godliness, the reprehensible presumption of individuals who attempted to think for themselves in matters connected with religion, or to be guided by their own interpretations of Scripture, and, occasionally (to please his wealthy parishioners) the necessity of deferential obedience from the poor to the rich--supporting his maxims and exhortations throughout with quotations from the Fathers: with whom he appeared to be far better acquainted than with the Apostles and Evangelists, and whose importance he seemed to consider at least equal to theirs.