[ meek ]
/ mik /
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See synonyms for: meek / meekly / meekness on Thesaurus.com

adjective, meek·er, meek·est.
humbly patient or quiet in nature, as under provocation from others.
overly submissive or compliant; tame.
Obsolete. gentle; kind.


1 forbearing; uncomplaining, passive, unassuming; pacific, calm.
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Origin of meek

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English meke, meoc, from Old Norse mjūkr “soft, mild, meek”

synonym study for meek

1. See gentle.


meek·ly, adverbmeek·ness, nouno·ver·meek, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does meek mean?

When used in a positive way, meek describes someone who shows patient restraint. When used negatively, it means overly submissive.

The positive sense of meek implies that someone is able to remain calm and subdued even when being provoked. Its negative use is perhaps more common, and is intended to indicate that someone is being too passive. The word meek is often associated with Christian virtues due to its use in a well-known Bible passage.

Example: I know you’re naturally reserved, but you can’t be so meek during job interviews.

Where does meek come from?

The first records of meek in English come from the 1100s. It is ultimately derived from the Old Norse word mjūkr, meaning “soft” and “mild.”

When you call someone or something meek, you usually mean one of two things. It can be a compliment indicating that a person remains patiently calm, humble, and peaceful, especially in circumstances that would get most people to act in the opposite way. In this way, it can be used to describe a person, an action, or behavior, as in The way he treated us was so meek that we trusted him completely or Our saintly mother was unfailingly meek and never lost her temper.

Perhaps more commonly, meek is used to describe someone who the speaker thinks should be more assertive, as in They’re too meek to stand up for themselves or If you keep taking such a meek approach to your career, you won’t get anywhere. Meek is often used alongside the word mild.

The association of meek with Christianity comes from its use in some English translations of the Bible in the account of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. In the sermon, described in the Book of Matthew, Jesus delivers what are sometimes called Beatitudes—sayings about what kind of people will receive blessings. In one of them, Jesus says “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.” There are many interpretations of the word meek in this passage, but it is often interpreted as meaning “peaceful,” “gentle,” or “kind.” (Meek was once used to mean “gentle and kind,” but that meaning has fallen out of use.)

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What are some other forms related to meek?

  • meekly (adverb)
  • meekness (noun)
  • meeker (adjective, comparative degree)
  • meekest (adjective, superlative degree)
  • overmeek (adjective)
  • overmeekly (adverb)

What are some synonyms for meek?

What are some words that often get used in discussing meek?

How is meek used in real life?

Meek is used to describe people as subdued or restrained—either in a good way or in a way that implies they are acting too tamely.



Try using meek!

Which of these is an antonym (opposite) of meek?

A. obedient
B. unyielding
C. submissive
D. unassuming

How to use meek in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for meek

/ (miːk) /

patient, long-suffering, or submissive in disposition or nature; humble
spineless or spiritless; compliant
an obsolete word for gentle

Derived forms of meek

meekly, adverbmeekness, noun

Word Origin for meek

C12: related to Old Norse mjūkr amenable; compare Welsh mwytho to soften
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