permissive

adjective

per·​mis·​sive pər-ˈmi-siv How to pronounce permissive (audio)
1
archaic : granted on sufferance : tolerated
2
a
: granting or tending to grant permission : tolerant
b
: deficient in firmness or control : indulgent, lax
3
: allowing discretion : optional
reduced the permissive retirement age from 65 to 62
4
: supporting growth or genetic replication (as of a virus)
permissive host cells
permissively adverb
permissiveness noun

Examples of permissive in a Sentence

Some states have more permissive laws than others.
Recent Examples on the Web The Czech Republic has more permissive gun laws than most countries in Europe, even allowing concealed carry with a permit. Kate Brady, Washington Post, 21 Dec. 2023 Generally, the study linked permissive laws, like those in Utah, to more outbreaks. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 13 Oct. 2023 And to exploit a permissive enemy properly requires expensive training, equipment, and officer preparation. Stephen Biddle, Foreign Affairs, 29 Jan. 2024 On the contrary, there are good reasons why consumers would benefit from a more permissive regulatory approach. Ryan Nabil, National Review, 24 Jan. 2024 In endorsing high-speed chases for virtually any reason, without limits, Independence’s policy is more permissive than those of many other police agencies in the metro. Glenn E. Rice, Kansas City Star, 18 Jan. 2024 The atmosphere outside the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse, on Pearl Street, was positively permissive by the standards of post-9/11 New York City; a few extra cops and some metal barriers were all that had been deemed necessary. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 17 Jan. 2024 These statutes are both permissive, and boards can decide whether to allow virtual or telephonic participation. Kelly G. Richardson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Jan. 2024 Under Gorbachev, the censors on Soviet TV became a lot more permissive, reflecting the wider push to relax the state’s control over the media. Simon Shuster, TIME, 4 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English permyssyf, from Middle French permissif, from Latin permissus

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of permissive was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near permissive

Cite this Entry

“Permissive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/permissive. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

permissive

adjective
per·​mis·​sive pər-ˈmis-iv How to pronounce permissive (audio)
1
: granting or tending to grant permission : allowing
2
: not forbidden : allowable
permissively adverb
permissiveness noun

Medical Definition

permissive

adjective
per·​mis·​sive pər-ˈmis-iv How to pronounce permissive (audio)
: supporting growth or genetic replication (as of a virus)
permissive temperatures
permissive monkey cells
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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