obe·​di·​ence | \ ō-ˈbē-dē-ən(t)s How to pronounce obedience (audio) , ə- \

Definition of obedience

1a : an act or instance of obeying
b : the quality or state of being obedient Children should learn obedience and respect for authority.
2 : a sphere of jurisdiction landowners within the king's obedience especially : an ecclesiastical or sometimes secular dominion under the obedience of the Bishop of Rome

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Examples of obedience in a Sentence

the drill sergeant demanded complete and unquestioning obedience from the recruits the cowardly obedience with which the dictator's henchmen followed his every command
Recent Examples on the Web Boomer walks well on a leash and has been learning basic obedience commands with our volunteers. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Simba and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 27 Dec. 2019 That is the usual matrix of power: obedience offered or retaliation made. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Why Is Trump Obsessed with Outing the Whistle-Blower?," 7 Nov. 2019 Church leaders have defended the interviews as an important way for bishops to determine youth’s obedience to God. Washington Post, "The Latest: Mormons leader warns of Satan’s temptations," 6 Oct. 2019 Mr Madkhali tells followers to show unflinching obedience to the wali al-amr. The Economist, "The battle for Tripoli could be decided by the Madkhalis," 14 Nov. 2019 The theme of blind obedience is one that Kennedy and Pelsue are happy to explore, right up to the closing of the curtain. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "Review: ’Don Juan’ a cool, cruel comedy at Westport Playhouse," 12 Nov. 2019 Love of country is more important than obedience to Donald Trump. oregonlive, "Gordon Sondland will not testify in impeachment inquiry, which Donald Trump calls ‘kangaroo court’," 8 Oct. 2019 The left today has a compulsion to force obedience again and again. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Wahooing Betsy Ross," 10 July 2019 The brothers take vows of celibacy, poverty and obedience to the gospel way of life that values simplicity, justice and care for the earth. Aisha Salaudeen, Earl Nurse, And Alima Williams, CNN, "Kenya's 'World's Best Teacher' gives away 80% of his monthly income to help the poor," 21 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obedience.' 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 obedience

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for obedience

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin oboedientia "act of obeying" (Medieval Latin also, "sphere of jurisdiction"), noun derivative of oboedient-, oboedient obedient

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Time Traveler for obedience

Time Traveler

The first known use of obedience was in the 13th century

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Statistics for obedience

Last Updated

6 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Obedience.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obedience. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for obedience


obe·​di·​ence | \ ō-ˈbē-dē-əns How to pronounce obedience (audio) \

Kids Definition of obedience

: the act of obeying : willingness to obey

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Comments on obedience

What made you want to look up obedience? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to insert between existing elements

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