Definition of SUBMISSIVE


Submissive is an adjective describing a disposition or behavior characterized by yielding, obedient, or compliant attitudes towards authority, control, or dominance. It conveys a sense of subordination, passivity, or deference in interpersonal dynamics or hierarchical structures.

Yielding or Obedient Attitude: As an adjective, submissive refers to individuals who willingly yield to the will, commands, or directives of others, often without resistance or assertion of their own preferences or desires. This can manifest in a variety of contexts, such as interpersonal relationships, organizational hierarchies, or societal norms, where individuals accept and conform to established rules, expectations, or power dynamics.

Passive Compliance: Submissive behavior entails a passive acceptance or compliance with authority or dominance, avoiding confrontation, conflict, or dissent. It may involve conforming to social norms, following orders from superiors, or acquiescing to the demands of others without asserting one’s own autonomy or agency.

Deference to Authority: Moreover, submissive attitudes often involve showing deference, respect, or reverence towards figures of authority, leadership, or dominance. This can include deferring to elders, adhering to traditional gender roles, or obeying rules and regulations imposed by institutions or governing bodies.

Lack of Assertiveness: Submissive individuals may exhibit a lack of assertiveness or initiative in expressing their own needs, opinions, or boundaries, prioritizing harmony, obedience, or approval-seeking behavior in interpersonal interactions. This can sometimes lead to feelings of powerlessness, dependency, or vulnerability in relationships or social contexts.

Examples: Examples of submissive behavior include yielding to the demands of a strict employer, conforming to traditional gender roles within a family structure, or deferring to the authority of a religious leader. In interpersonal relationships, a submissive partner may defer to their significant other’s decisions, avoid conflict, or prioritize the other person’s needs above their own.

Submissive describes a disposition or behavior characterized by yielding, obedient, or compliant attitudes towards authority, control, or dominance. Whether in interpersonal relationships, organizational settings, or societal contexts, submissive individuals tend to prioritize harmony, obedience, and deference to authority, often at the expense of asserting their own autonomy, preferences, or boundaries.

Use examples of SUBMISSIVE

  • The employee was submissive to their boss’s every command, never daring to question or challenge them.
  • In some cultures, women are expected to be submissive to their husbands, often deferring to their decisions.
  • Despite his imposing stature, he was surprisingly submissive in social situations, preferring to avoid conflict.
  • The dog was naturally submissive, often rolling onto its back in a gesture of surrender.
  • She felt uncomfortable in the presence of overly submissive individuals, finding their lack of assertiveness unsettling.
  • The medieval knight knelt before his king, a gesture of submissive loyalty and obedience.
  • The child’s submissive behavior worried the teacher, who suspected they might be experiencing abuse at home.
  • The cult leader demanded absolute submission from his followers, who obeyed his every whim without question.


The term submissive navigates the intricate dynamics of power, authority, and deference, embodying a disposition or behavior characterized by yielding to the will or control of others. Rooted in language of obedience and social norms, it has evolved into an adjective that describes individuals who willingly comply with directives, instructions, or expectations from authority figures or dominant parties.

  • Language of Obedience and Compliance: Submissive emerges from a language of obedience and compliance, reflecting societal expectations and norms regarding deference to authority or hierarchical structures. It embodies the concept of yielding or surrendering one’s autonomy or agency to those perceived as having power or control.
  • Disposition and Behavior: Submissive individuals exhibit a disposition or behavior marked by deference, acquiescence, and compliance in interpersonal interactions or group settings. They may demonstrate humility, respect, and deferential gestures towards authority figures, dominant personalities, or social norms.
  • Power Dynamics and Hierarchies: Submission occurs within the context of power dynamics and social hierarchies, where individuals occupy different positions of authority, influence, or privilege. Submissive behavior often reflects unequal power relations, where one party willingly cedes control or authority to another perceived as having greater power or status.
  • Cultural and Gendered Expectations: Cultural and gender norms can shape expectations regarding submissive behavior, with certain societies or contexts placing greater emphasis on deference, obedience, or humility as desirable traits, particularly in relation to gender roles or social roles.
  • Psychological and Emotional Dimensions: Submissive behavior can have psychological and emotional dimensions, including feelings of inferiority, insecurity, or fear of conflict or rejection. It may be motivated by a desire for acceptance, approval, or avoidance of punishment or conflict.

Submissive behavior reflects complex interactions between individual dispositions, social norms, and power dynamics, shaping interpersonal relationships and societal structures. From its origins in language of obedience to its manifestations in interpersonal interactions and social hierarchies, the term embodies the intricate dynamics of power, authority, and compliance in human behavior and social organization.


  • Obedient
  • Docile
  • Compliant
  • Meek
  • Passive
  • Yielding
  • Subservient
  • Respectful


  • Defiant
  • Assertive
  • Independent
  • Rebellious
  • Resistant
  • Insubordinate
  • Dominant
  • Defiant


  • Submission
  • Subordination
  • Compliance
  • Obedience
  • Conformity
  • Respect
  • Adherence
  • Surrender

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