bid·​da·​ble ˈbi-də-bəl How to pronounce biddable (audio)
: easily led, taught, or controlled : docile
: capable of being bid
biddability noun
biddably adverb

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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 currently 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. 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.

Examples of biddable in a Sentence

The children became less biddable as they grew older. the elderly widower was one of the more biddable and cooperative residents at the nursing home
Recent Examples on the Web Find the full slate of biddable items here. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, 4 Dec. 2020 Imran Khan, the cricket legend turned politician, came to power in 2018 with the lightly disguised support of the military, which saw him as a biddable ally. Declan Walsh, New York Times, 6 Feb. 2023 Athletic, stylish, biddable, and deceptively tough, the Irish setter takes a backseat to none as a bird-finder deluxe and rugged all-purpose hunter. Kyle Wintersteen, Field & Stream, 30 Jan. 2023 Such a defense may be a last resort in nature, but it’s been alleged that a military trainer could condition a biddable dolphin to neutralize an enemy diver, using the creature’s natural defensive abilities, coupled with a weapon of some kind. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 9 Jan. 2023 Border collies, for instance, tend to be more biddable than the average dog. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, 30 Apr. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'biddable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1768, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of biddable was circa 1768


Dictionary Entries Near biddable

Cite this Entry

“Biddable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

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