obe·​di·​ent ō-ˈbē-dē-ənt How to pronounce obedient (audio)
: submissive to the restraint or command of authority : willing to obey
an obedient child
an obedient dog
obedient to those whom he fearedA. N. Wilson
obediently adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for obedient

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

Examples of obedient in a Sentence

that boy is so obedient that he does everything the first time he is asked
Recent Examples on the Web Eventually members shaved their heads and had to be obedient to Dederich despite his brutality and manipulative behavior. Addie Morfoot, Variety, 8 Apr. 2024 Step 11: Don’t be automatically allegiant or blindly obedient. Barbara Kellerman, Fortune, 6 Mar. 2024 No recruiting militia passed through her village; her transformation from obedient housewife to swaggering gang leader was accomplished by sheer force of will. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, 5 Feb. 2024 Thirty years ago, Turkey was an obedient U.S. ally, dependent on Washington for its security and prosperity. Fareed Zakaria, Foreign Affairs, 12 Dec. 2023 The dog must be obedient to his owner, the child to his parents. Hebe Uhart, The New Yorker, 31 Aug. 2023 Shamkhani was replaced with IRGC General Ali Akbar Ahmadian, who analysts say is expected to be more obedient and less ambitious than Shamkhani. Nadeen Ebrahim, CNN, 26 May 2023 Ballet is a particularly stark example of a broader system that conditions women to be obedient, to suffer for perfection, and never complain about any of it. Madison Mainwaring, The New Republic, 19 Apr. 2023 After a long string of failures and few significant victories, the knives now seem to be out for Russian generals, amid criticism from prominent Russian military correspondents, state television propagandists and even members of the normally obedient parliament. Natalia Abbakumova, Washington Post, 7 Oct. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'obedient.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin oboedient-, oboediens, from present participle of oboedīre "to follow the commands of, submit to" — more at obey

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of obedient was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near obedient

Cite this Entry

“Obedient.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obedient. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


obe·​di·​ent ō-ˈbēd-ē-ənt How to pronounce obedient (audio)
: willing to obey
obediently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on obedient

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