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

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Recent Examples on the Web The Virginia Department of Education has rescinded a wide range of policies, memos and programs established to further diversity, equity and inclusion in schools in obedience to an executive order from Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R). Washington Post, 25 Feb. 2022 Kueng, the rookie Black officer who knelt on Floyd's leg, testified that probationary officers were taught to always defer to a superior to the point of unquestioning obedience. Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News, 24 Feb. 2022 Later in the week, the attorney sought to show the department instilled a sense of obedience in recruits and failed to show effective ways of intervening when force is misused. Kathleen Foody, chicagotribune.com, 30 Jan. 2022 And when women fall short of complete and perfect obedience, treat them with the same kindness and respect with and by which men are treated. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 Jan. 2022 Because obedience to aerodynamics forbids anything like the grandiose form factor of the GLS-class, the EQS SUV looks more like a svelte but stout wagon. Jonathon Ramsey, Car and Driver, 19 Apr. 2022 The fast is seen as an act of self-restraint and obedience that is meant to increase faith, build compassion for those in need, inspire patience and bring believers closer to Allah and the Muslim community. Felicia Campbell, The Arizona Republic, 2 Apr. 2022 Catholic religious orders, such as the Benedictines, Jesuits, Franciscans or Dominicans, require their members—nuns, brothers or priests—to take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. WSJ, 26 Mar. 2022 Rally involves training your dog to perform 100 different obedience exercises. cleveland, 17 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Obedience.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obedience. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on obedience

Nglish: Translation of obedience for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obedience for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about obedience


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