[ suhb-mis-iv ]
See synonyms for submissive on
  1. inclined or ready to submit or yield to the authority of another; unresistingly or humbly obedient: submissive servants.

  2. marked by or indicating submission or a yielding to the authority of another: a submissive reply.

  1. Also called, Informal, sub . the participant in a BDSM sexual encounter or relationship who is obedient, giving power and control to another participant.

Origin of submissive

First recorded in 1580–90; submiss + -ive

Other words for submissive

Opposites for submissive

Other words from submissive

  • sub·mis·sive·ly, adverb
  • sub·mis·sive·ness, noun
  • non·sub·mis·sive, adjective
  • non·sub·mis·sive·ly, adverb
  • non·sub·mis·sive·ness, noun
  • qua·si-sub·mis·sive, adjective
  • qua·si-sub·mis·sive·ly, adverb
  • un·sub·mis·sive, adjective
  • un·sub·mis·sive·ly, adverb
  • un·sub·mis·sive·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use submissive in a sentence

  • While every other colony was bidding defiance to Britain, this alone submissively applied to her for redress of grievances.

  • But my opponent did not utter a single sound, and only, as before, mournfully and submissively nodded his head up and down.

  • "Your Grace has made better men than me wear your cast clothes," said Jerningham submissively.

    Peveril of the Peak | Sir Walter Scott
  • And did she submissively consent to be deprived of her just dues?

    Fair to Look Upon | Mary Belle Freeley
  • She entreated him, humbly, submissively, fearing to make him angry.

    The Child of Pleasure | Gabriele D'Annunzio

British Dictionary definitions for submissive


/ (səbˈmɪsɪv) /

  1. of, tending towards, or indicating submission, humility, or servility

Derived forms of submissive

  • submissively, adverb
  • submissiveness, 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