• synonyms


[dos-uhl; British doh-sahyl]
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  1. easily managed or handled; tractable: a docile horse.
  2. readily trained or taught; teachable.
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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


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged 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

British Dictionary definitions for docility


  1. easy to manage, control, or discipline; submissive
  2. rare ready to learn; easy to teach
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Derived Formsdocilely, adverbdocility (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

Word Origin and History for docility


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

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper