Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.
give one’s head for the washing To submit to insult or other ill treatment without resistance; to give in tamely or without a fight. This obsolete expression and its variants give one’s head for the polling and give one’s beard for the washing date from the 16th century.
For my part it shall ne’er be said, I for the washing gave my head, Nor did I turn my back for fear. (Samuel Butler, Hudibras I, Iii, 1663)
kiss the rod To accept punishment submissively, to submit meekly to chastisement. This expression, which dates from at least 1586, is an allusion to the rod (stick or switch) as an instrument of punishment. Thus, “to kiss the rod,” figuratively speaking, is to embrace one’s punishment without protest.
Come, I’ll be a good child, and kiss the rod. (James Shirley, The Witty Fair One, 1628)
like a lamb Meekly, gently, humbly, innocently, harmlessly, naively; from lamb as a gullible person, one easily deceived or cheated. This expression alludes to the docile, unassuming, placid nature of a young sheep. These characteristics have been associated with the lamb for thousands of years and have been cited in countless works of literature. Like a lamb is perhaps best known for its symbolic use in the Bible:
He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter. (Isaiah 53:7)
Behold the Lamb of God [Jesus Christ], which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
live under the cat’s foot To be subjected to the whims of another person, especially a woman; to be henpecked. To live under someone’s foot is to be dominated and manipulated. In this picturesque expression, the oppressor is the “cat”—a nagging, overbearing woman.
patient as Griselda See PATIENCE.
take lying down To yield without resisting or fighting back; to give up the fight. A prone position is the most vulnerable and defenseless position one can assume. This expression is used figuratively in referring to a weak or cowardly person who fails to defend himself when subjected to verbal attack.
turn the other cheek To refuse to retaliate in kind even when sorely provoked; to answer an affront or attack with meekness and humility.
The language was certainly provocative, and nothing but the consciousness of a good cause enabled Lord Salisbury to turn the cheek to the smiter. As it was, he made a conciliatory answer. (J. A. Williamson, A Short History of British Expansion, 1930)
This expression, of Biblical origin, literally means to allow or even invite another slap in the face. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus admonishes the multitudes:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:38-39)
See an eye for an eye, RETALIATION.
Uncle Tom A Black person who assumes a submissive or obsequious attitude toward Whites, or one who seeks the favor of Whites. This term alludes to Uncle Tom, the Black hero of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1851). While the expression is often used disparagingly by Blacks for those of their race who deem themselves inferior to Whites, Uncle Tom may also describe an Afro-American who voluntarily assumes the offensive stereotype.
The South, that languorous land where Uncle Toms groaned Biblically underneath the lash. (Stephen Vincent Benét, John Brown’s Body, 1927)
|Noun||1.||submissiveness - the trait of being willing to yield to the will of another person or a superior force etc.|
obedience - the trait of being willing to obey
subordination - the quality of obedient submissiveness