Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Acronyms, Wikipedia.


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 ?
From that day she was a model of obedience, and the old lady complacently admired the success of her training.
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.
Cora set the example of compliance, with a steadiness that taught the more timid Alice the necessity of obedience.
Nay, please your worship," answered the man, in much perplexity, but with a backwardness that strikingly indicated the hard and severe character of Colonel Pyncheon's domestic rule; "my master's orders were exceeding strict; and, as your worship knows, he permits of no discretion in the obedience of those who owe him service.
Pearl, in utter scorn of her mother's attempt to quiet her, gave an eldritch scream, and then became silent, not from any motion of obedience, but because the quick and mobile curiosity of her disposition was excited by the appearance of those new personages.
It was an odd accident of thought that I should have happened at such a moment to be particularly and very gratefully struck with the obedience of my little charges.
The sailors, mostly poor devils, cringed, and some of them fawned before him; in obedience to his instructions, sometimes rendering him personal homage, as to a god.
So Jurgis drank a large glass of whisky, and then turned to the lunch counter, in obedience to the other's suggestion.
The peaches, moreover, in obedience to a few gentle whispers from Rachel, were soon deposited, by the same hand, in a stew-pan over the fire.
But then the Church came to the front, with an axe to grind; and she was wise, subtle, and knew more than one way to skin a cat -- or a nation; she invented "divine right of kings," and propped it all around, brick by brick, with the Beatitudes -- wrenching them from their good purpose to make them fortify an evil one; she preached (to the commoner) humility, obedience to superiors, the beauty of self-sacrifice; she preached
The Churchills might not have a word to say in return; but then, you would have no habits of early obedience and long observance to break through.
When the footman had wheeled the chair into the picture-gallery and left the two together in obedience to orders, Colin and Mary looked at each other delighted.