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[suh b-mis-iv] /səbˈmɪs ɪv/
inclined or ready to submit or yield to the authority of another; unresistingly or humbly obedient:
submissive servants.
marked by or indicating submission or an instance of yielding to the authority of another:
a submissive reply.
Origin of submissive
First recorded in 1580-90; submiss + -ive
Related forms
submissively, adverb
submissiveness, noun
nonsubmissive, adjective
nonsubmissively, adverb
nonsubmissiveness, noun
quasi-submissive, adjective
quasi-submissively, adverb
unsubmissive, adjective
unsubmissively, adverb
unsubmissiveness, noun
1. tractable, compliant, pliant, amenable. 2. passive, resigned, patient, docile, tame, subdued.
1. rebellious, disobedient. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for submissively
Historical Examples
  • Caeri submissively followed the orders of his brother in command.

    Gomez Arias Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso
  • "I didn't know ye were up yet, aunty," said Jeff submissively.

  • My associate and myself as he hurried forward seized him by the arms, and he submissively returned.

  • I went with him submissively; I thought of nothing but the joy of my life, the love of my lover.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • And Lucien submissively signed in the place indicated beneath her name.

    Eve and David Honore de Balzac
  • "Without it be Mr. Cashel's pleasure to detain me," said the doctor, submissively.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • Thatcher took the seat indicated, contritely, humbly, submissively.

    The Story of a Mine Bret Harte
  • submissively she entered into this most crucial series of tests.

    The Shadow World Hamlin Garland
  • But wishes are as vain as regrets; so I'll just do my best, bespeaking your attention, and submissively abiding your judgment.

    The House by the Church-Yard J. Sheridan Le Fanu
  • She entreated him, humbly, submissively, fearing to make him angry.

    The Child of Pleasure Gabriele D'Annunzio
British Dictionary definitions for submissively


of, tending towards, or indicating submission, humility, or servility
Derived Forms
submissively, adverb
submissiveness, noun
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 submissively



1580s, "inclined to submit," from Latin submiss-, past participle stem of submittere (see submission) + -ive. Masochistic sexual sense is attested by 1969. As a noun in this sense, by 1985. Related: Submissively; submissiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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