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November 12, 2012

Word of the Day

  • biddable
  • audio pronunciation
  • \BID-uh-bul\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

1
: easily led, taught, or controlled : docile
2
: capable of being bid
  • EXAMPLES

"The twins are well-behaved children, biddable, meek, neat about their clothes, and always mindful of the proprieties they have learned at summer hotels." — From Willa Cather's 1915 novel The Song of the Lark

"The dogs are highly biddable, responding to whistles, hand signals, and during training, a red flag on a long pole." — From an article by Lou Fancher in Contra Costa Times (California), April 12, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

A biddable individual is someone you can issue an order to—that is, someone who will do your bidding. The word dates to the late 18th century, and our earliest evidence for it is a quote in the Scottish National Dictionary. There are a number of words in English that do what "biddable" does. "Tractable," "amenable," and "docile" are three of them. As in the Cather quote above, "biddable" is often applied to children and indicates a ready, constant inclination to follow orders, requests, and suggestions. "Tractable" suggests characteristics that make for easy guiding, leading, ordering, or managing; its antonym "intractable" (as in "intractable problems") is more common. "Amenable" indicates a disposition to be agreeable or complaisant as well as a lack of assertive independence. "Docile" can stress a disposition to submit, either due to guidance and control or to imposition and oppression.

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "fecund," our Word of the Day from October 13? The answer is ...

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