[dos-uhl; British doh-sahyl]


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 formsdoc·ile·ly, adverbdo·cil·i·ty [do-sil-i-tee, doh-] /dɒˈsɪl ɪ ti, doʊ-/, noun

Synonyms for docile Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for docility

Contemporary Examples of docility

Historical Examples of docility

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for docility



easy to manage, control, or discipline; submissive
rare ready to learn; easy to teach
Derived Formsdocilely, adverbdocility (dəʊˈsɪlɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for docile

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

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