- 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
Examples from the Web for permissively
These take thought, at least ostensibly or permissively, for the temporal welfare of the laity, as well as for their own.The Theory of the Leisure Class
- tolerant; lenientpermissive parents
- indulgent in matters of sexa permissive society
- granting permission
- archaic not obligatory
Word Origin and History for permissively
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.