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  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 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

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Antonyms for submissive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unsubmissive

Historical Examples of unsubmissive

  • The former was ever meek and feminine, the latter fierce and unsubmissive.

  • It bears the date of April 10th, being the very next day after he had written to Reynolds in so unsubmissive a tone.

    Life of John Keats

    William Michael Rossetti

  • How could I remain impenitent and unsubmissive when for my faults an innocent man stood exposed in contumely to the public gaze?

    King John of Jingalo

    Laurence Housman

  • At times he sulked, at times he affected a cold dignity, and at times a virile anger swayed him at her unsubmissive silences.

    The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman

    H. G. (Herbert George) Wells

  • If you give a boy the education of a girl, or a girl the education of a boy, the result will be an unsubmissive or degraded being.

British Dictionary definitions for unsubmissive


  1. 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 unsubmissive



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