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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


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.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. The quality or state of willingly carrying out the wishes of others:
2. An act of willingly carrying out the wishes of others:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


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
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


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
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[əˈbiːdɪəns] nubbidienza
in obedience to your orders (frm) → conformemente ai vostri ordini
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(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
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


n. obediencia.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
References in classic literature ?
Let your distinction be obedience. Let your commanding itself be obeying!
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. This instrument, having been drafted and approved, was distributed according to the original plan.
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.