docile

adjective
doc·​ile | \ ˈdä-səl How to pronounce docile (audio) also -ˌsī(-ə)l, especially British ˈdō-ˌsī(-ə)l \

Definition of docile

1 : easily taught a docile pupil
2 : easily led or managed : tractable a docile pony

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Other Words from docile

docilely \ ˈdä-​sə(l)-​lē How to pronounce docile (audio) \ adverb
docility \ dä-​ˈsi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce docile (audio) , dō-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for docile

obedient, docile, tractable, amenable mean submissive to the will of another. obedient implies compliance with the demands or requests of one in authority. obedient to the government docile implies a predisposition to submit readily to control or guidance. a docile child tractable suggests having a character that permits easy handling or managing. tractable animals amenable suggests a willingness to yield or cooperate because of a desire to be agreeable or because of a natural open-mindedness. amenable to new ideas

Ready to learn the origin of docile?

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).

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
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Recent Examples on the Web And any big cat who is docile enough to be hugged by a tourist has probably been drugged, and was likely taken from their mother as an infant to be chained in a cage. BostonGlobe.com, "Love animals? Here are some things not to do on your next vacation," 31 Mar. 2021 Because of their gentle and docile demeanor, llamas are often favorites at petting zoos. Popular Science, "Llamas are hotter than ever. Here’s why.," 21 Dec. 2020 Because of their gentle and docile demeanor, llamas are often favorites at petting zoos. Popular Science, "Llamas are hotter than ever. Here’s why.," 21 Dec. 2020 Because of their gentle and docile demeanor, llamas are often favorites at petting zoos. Popular Science, "Llamas are hotter than ever. Here’s why.," 21 Dec. 2020 But if March is a docile lamb instead of a roaring lion, Los Angeles finds itself in a deep, dry rainfall hole. Los Angeles Times, "‘Mega-miracle’ will be needed to overcome dry February in Los Angeles," 20 Feb. 2021 Cradduck stressed that longhorns in general are smart and docile. René A. Guzman, San Antonio Express-News, "All you need to know about legendary longhorns, true Texas icons," 18 Feb. 2021 Orpington’s are known as docile, friendly and affectionate birds. al, "Teen reunited with pet rooster lost at Alabama Cracker Barrel after Civil War reenactment," 11 Feb. 2021 Beside them ran wolflike creatures, more docile than their ancestors and remarkably willing to help their primate companions hunt down prey and drag it back to camp. David Grimm, Science | AAAS, "Ice age Siberian hunters may have domesticated dogs 23,000 years ago," 25 Jan. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of docile

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for docile

Latin docilis, from docēre to teach; akin to Latin decēre to be fitting — more at decent

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Time Traveler for docile

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The first known use of docile was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Docile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/docile. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for docile

docile

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of docile

: easily taught, led, or controlled

docile

adjective
doc·​ile | \ ˈdä-səl How to pronounce docile (audio) \

Kids Definition of docile

: easily taught, led, or managed a docile horse

Other Words from docile

docilely adverb

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Comments on docile

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