Definition of docile
- a docile pupil
- a docile pony
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His students were docile and eager to learn.
a docile young pony that went wherever it was led
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'docile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Docile students can make teaching a lot easier. Nowadays, calling students "docile" indicates they aren't trouble-makers. But there's more than just good behavior connecting docility to teachability. The original meaning of "docile" is more to the point: "readily absorbing something taught." "The docile mind may soon thy precepts know," rendered Ben Jonson, for example, in a 17th-century translation of the Roman poet Horace. "Docile" comes from Latin docēre, which means "to teach." Other descendants of "docēre" include "doctrine" (which can mean "something that is taught"), "document" (the earliest meaning of which was "instruction"), and "doctor" and "docent" (both of which can refer to college teachers).
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