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Inclined or willing to submit.

sub·mis′sive·ly adv.
sub·mis′sive·ness n.
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.




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)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.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
obsequiousness, servility, subservience - abject or cringing submissiveness
passiveness, passivity - submission to others or to outside influences
subordination - the quality of obedient submissiveness
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


The quality or state 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.
خُضوع، إذْعان، طاعَه
hlÿîni, auîmÿkt


[səbˈmɪsɪvnɪs] Nsumisión f
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


nDemut f, → Gehorsam m, → Unterwürfigkeit f (pej)(to gegenüber)
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[səbˈmɪsɪvnɪs] nsottomissione f, remissività
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(səbˈmit) past tense, past participle subˈmitted verb
1. to yield to control or to a particular kind of treatment by another person etc. I refuse to submit to his control; The rebels were ordered to submit.
2. to offer (a plan, suggestion, proposal, entry etc). Competitors for the painting competition must submit their entries by Friday.
suˈbmission (-ʃən) noun
1. the act of submitting.
2. humbleness or obedience.
subˈmissive (-siv) adjective
obedient and humble.
subˈmissively adverb
subˈmissiveness noun
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
Pontellier had been a rather courteous husband so long as he met a certain tacit submissiveness in his wife.
And on Vronsky's face, always so firm and independent, she saw that look that had struck her, of bewilderment and humble submissiveness, like the expression of an intelligent dog when it has done wrong.
Once when he had got drunk at home, Nikita, probably to make up for his submissiveness when sober, broke open her box, took out her best clothes, snatched up an axe, and chopped all her undergarments and dresses to bits.
Being always on the defensive toward her own sisters, it was natural that she should be keenly conscious of her superiority, even as the weakest Dodson, over a husband's sister, who, besides being poorly off, and inclined to "hang on" her brother, had the good-natured submissiveness of a large, easy-tempered, untidy, prolific woman, with affection enough in her not only for her own husband and abundant children, but for any number of collateral relations.
"I have heard of your new prospects," pursued Norah, speaking with a mechanical submissiveness of manner which seemed almost ungracious; "I wished to set things right between us; I wished to say I was sorry for what happened.
His native coolness, shrewdness, and deliberateness, his life-long submissiveness to the sentiment that words were acts and acts were steps in life, and that in this matter of taking steps curveting and prancing were exclusively reserved for quadrupeds and foreigners--all this admonished him that rightful wrath had no connection with being a fool and indulging in spectacular violence.
Lydgate relied much on the psychological difference between what for the sake of variety I will call goose and gander: especially on the innate submissiveness of the goose as beautifully corresponding to the strength of the gander.
Yet till that moment she had fancied that she might escape misfortune by care, gentleness and submissiveness before everyone.
Many reasons drive women to practice misogyny and advocate for their own submissiveness. In societies where women are still fighting for their rights, such behaviours, practices, and attitudes further hinder their advancement.
Be warned, her submissiveness and silence can be annoying.
There is, along with the sense of pride and vindication, a cloud of hopelessness given the current government's submissiveness to China today.