- habitually or characteristically accepting or tolerant of something, as social behavior or linguistic usage, that others might disapprove or forbid.
- granting or denoting permission: a permissive nod.
- Genetics. (of a cell) permitting replication of a strand of DNA that could be lethal, as a viral segment or mutant gene.
Origin of permissive
SynonymsSee more synonyms for permissive on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for permissive
Edward and Alexandra were the most permissive royal parents.Kate and William’s Royal Family Values
September 22, 2014
The program is medically based, not permissive as in states like Colorado that are experiencing the consequences of legalization.Chris Christie to the Drug War: I Wish I Knew How to Quit You
Olivia Nuzzi, Abby Haglage
June 18, 2014
Just as important, however, is a permissive external environment.Why Democracy Will Struggle In The Arab World In 2014
January 12, 2014
“It is permissive,” the former student adviser told The Daily Beast.
I always felt safe,” said one former Columbia student who dabbled in selling, calling the campus a “permissive environment.
Therefore the poet is not any permissive potentate, but is emperor in his own right.Essays, Second Series
Ralph Waldo Emerson
She smiled at last, with permissive recognition, and Gates came forward.Annie Kilburn
William Dean Howells
Instead of being compulsory the Act, should an Act be passed, was to be permissive.The History of the Post Office
Therefore the consequent will of God, which has sin for its object, is only permissive.
There is precisely the case wherein the will of a wise mind is only permissive.
- tolerant; lenientpermissive parents
- indulgent in matters of sexa permissive society
- granting permission
- archaic not obligatory
Word Origin and History for permissive
c.1600, "allowing to pass through," from Old French permissif, from Latin permiss-, past participle stem of permittere "to let go, let pass, let loose" (see permit (v.)). In sense of "tolerant, liberal" it is first recorded 1956; by 1966 it had definite overtones of sexual freedom. Earlier it meant "permitted, allowed" (early 15c.). Related: Permissively; permissiveness.