bid·​da·​ble | \ ˈbi-də-bəl How to pronounce biddable (audio) \

Definition of biddable

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

Other Words from biddable

biddability \ ˌbi-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce biddable (audio) \ noun
biddably \ ˈbi-​də-​blē How to pronounce biddable (audio) \ 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 Republicans in Congress resisted adding new members to the very conservative Court, but, in the light of F.D.R.’s own landslide reëlection, in 1936, the Court itself chose to become significantly more biddable on New Deal jurisprudence. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 7 May 2021 If winning over a majority of Hong Kongers proves slow work, leaders in Beijing may be tempted to play social engineer and craft a more biddable Hong Kong, whether by blurring its borders with the mainland or shipping in new people. The Economist, 20 Mar. 2021 The full catalog, featuring 800 biddable items, is available online at, where bidders can preregister. Dewayne Bevil,, 3 Dec. 2020 The British are a biddable people, easily cowed by authority. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, 10 Apr. 2019 For example, telecom company Vodafone is now working toward bypassing agencies for the biddable part -- currently just under a quarter -- of its roughly £600 million ($780 million) ad budget, including by working directly with Google and Facebook. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, 2 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'biddable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of biddable

circa 1768, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of biddable was circa 1768

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Biddable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of biddable

: willing to do whatever someone tells you to do : easily taught, led, or controlled
: available to be bid on


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