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[dos-uh l; British doh-sahyl] /ˈdɒs əl; British ˈdoʊ saɪl/
easily managed or handled; tractable:
a docile horse.
readily trained or taught; teachable.
Origin of docile
1475-85; < Latin docilis readily taught, equivalent to doc(ēre) to teach + -ilis -ile
Related forms
docilely, adverb
[do-sil-i-tee, doh-] /dɒˈsɪl ɪ ti, doʊ-/ (Show IPA),
1. manageable, malleable; obedient. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for docility
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Nature has provided for this by evolving the instinct of docility.

  • He helped his sister with blind love and docility in her household duties.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • He had been early trained to gentleness, docility, and goodness.

  • The team was purely American—that is to say, almost human in its intelligence and docility.

    American Notes Rudyard Kipling
  • This secret of success was was only to be won by the development of a temper, a spirit of docility.

    Albert Durer T. Sturge Moore
  • docility, as I have pointed out elsewhere, is one of the marks of genius.

    Albert Durer T. Sturge Moore
  • They reap the rewards of the docility and zeal of the masses which they direct.

    Essays, Second Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • And he had been a good soldier as he had been a good son, because of his docility and his strength.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • "I did not tell you to come back," she said, amused at his docility.

    Paul Patoff

    F. Marion Crawford
British Dictionary definitions for docility


easy to manage, control, or discipline; submissive
(rare) ready to learn; easy to teach
Derived Forms
docilely, adverb
docility (dəʊˈsɪlɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin docilis easily taught, from docēre to teach
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for docility

1550s, from French docilité (15c.), from Latin docilitatem (nominative docilitas), from docilis (see docile).



late 15c., "easily taught," from Italian or French docile, from Latin docilis "easily taught," from docere "teach" (see doctor). Sense of "obedient, submissive" first recorded 1774.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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