[ oh-bee-dee-uhns ]
/ oʊˈbi di əns /


the state or quality of being obedient.
the act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance: Military service demands obedience from its members.
a sphere of authority or jurisdiction, especially ecclesiastical.
Chiefly Ecclesiastical.
  1. conformity to a monastic rule or the authority of a religious superior, especially on the part of one who has vowed such conformance.
  2. the rule or authority that exacts such conformance.

Nearby words

  1. obdurate,
  2. obduration,
  3. obe,
  4. obeah,
  5. obeche,
  6. obedience training,
  7. obedience trial,
  8. obedient,
  9. obedient plant,
  10. obedientiary

Origin of obedience

1150–1200; Middle English < Old French < Latin oboedientia. See obedient, -ence

Related formso·ver·o·be·di·ence, nounpre·o·be·di·ence, nounsu·per·o·be·di·ence, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for obedience

British Dictionary definitions for obedience


/ (əˈbiːdɪəns) /


the condition or quality of being obedient
the act or an instance of obeying; dutiful or submissive behaviour
the authority vested in a Church or similar body
the collective group of persons submitting to this authoritySee also passive obedience
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 obedience



c.1200, "submission to a higher power or authority," from Old French obedience "obedience, submission" (12c.) and directly from Latin oboedientia "obedience," noun of quality from oboedientem (nominative oboediens); see obedient. In reference to dog training from 1930.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper