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 57-page superseding indictment reads like a television drama, weaving a tale of influence, obedience, intimidation, an internal power struggle, drugs, guns and murder spanning multiple states. Carrie Napoleon, chicagotribune.com, 27 Oct. 2021 The term has become a shibboleth, an immediate shorthand for Latter-day Saints to size up one another’s obedience and orthodoxy. The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 Oct. 2021 Koda’s training will include tracking, building search, article search, obedience, handler protection, area search and narcotic detection, the department wrote. Dallas News, 9 Sep. 2021 The program enlists jail inmates to give obedience training. Annie Blanks, San Antonio Express-News, 21 Oct. 2021 The dam of American conformity and obedience had burst, and what came pouring through was an unruly blend of freedom and violence and exaltation and chaos. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 12 Oct. 2021 With the future of the human race at stake, a group of young men and women—bred for intelligence and obedience—embark on an expedition to colonize a distant planet. Travis Bean, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 Possibly, but entwined with this theme of curiosity is the potentiality that these tales are begging readers to also consider the importance of obedience and trust. Sarah Schutte, National Review, 12 Sep. 2021 Loudoun adopted the guidelines in obedience to a Virginia law, passed in 2020, that requires school districts statewide to update their rules for the treatment of transgender students to help guard against harassment. Washington Post, 31 Aug. 2021

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

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Last Updated

8 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Obedience.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obedience. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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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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