inclined or ready to submit or yield to the authority of another; unresistingly or humbly obedient: submissive servants.
marked by or indicating submission or an instance of yielding to the authority of another: a submissive reply.

Origin of submissive

First recorded in 1580–90; submiss + -ive
Related formssub·mis·sive·ly, adverbsub·mis·sive·ness, nounnon·sub·mis·sive, adjectivenon·sub·mis·sive·ly, adverbnon·sub·mis·sive·ness, nounqua·si-sub·mis·sive, adjectivequa·si-sub·mis·sive·ly, adverbun·sub·mis·sive, adjectiveun·sub·mis·sive·ly, adverbun·sub·mis·sive·ness, noun

Synonyms for submissive

Antonyms for submissive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for submissive

Contemporary Examples of submissive

Historical Examples of submissive

  • There was something about her eyes not unlike the dog's expression, submissive, but questioning.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The officers then could not abide him, though some were submissive to him because of his father's position.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • It has been questioned, however, whether in this instance he was not too submissive.

  • And I wait, submissive to His will, for nothing happens unless He wills it.

  • The man, the most submissive; the woman, the most affectionate.

    Slavery Ordained of God

    Rev. Fred A. Ross, D.D.

British Dictionary definitions for submissive



of, tending towards, or indicating submission, humility, or servility
Derived Formssubmissively, adverbsubmissiveness, noun
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 submissive

1580s, "inclined to submit," from Latin submiss-, past participle stem of submittere (see submission) + -ive. Masochistic sexual sense is attested by 1969. As a noun in this sense, by 1985. Related: Submissively; submissiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper