docile was our Word of the Day on 11/09/2009. Hear the podcast!
Examples of docile in a sentence
In the course of a single month, from Annie's arrival to her triumph in bridling the household despot, Helen [Keller] had grown docile, affectionate, and tirelessly intent on learning from moment to moment. —Cynthia Ozick, New Yorker, 16 & 23 June 2003
Africanized honeybees look like the European honeybees now commonly found in our gardens, and like their relatives, they make honey. They are fairly docile when they are foraging, but they defend their nests ferociously. —Lynn Ocone, Sunset, February 1994
His students were docile and eager to learn.
a docile young pony that went wherever it was led
Did You Know?
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).
Origin and Etymology of docile
Latin docilis, from docēre to teach; akin to Latin decēre to be fitting — more at decent
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of docile
DOCILE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of docile for English Language Learners
: easily taught, led, or controlled
DOCILE Defined for Kids
Definition of docile for Students
: easily taught, led, or managed a docile horse
Seen and Heard
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