What does obedience mean?

Definitions for obedience
oʊˈbi di ənsobe·di·ence

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word obedience.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. obedience, obeisancenoun

    the act of obeying; dutiful or submissive behavior with respect to another person

  2. obediencenoun

    the trait of being willing to obey

  3. obedience, respectnoun

    behavior intended to please your parents

    "their children were never very strong on obedience"; "he went to law school out of respect for his father's wishes"


  1. obediencenoun

    The quality of being obedient.

    Obedience is essential in any army.

  2. Etymology: From obedience, from obedience (modern French obédience), from oboedientia.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Obediencenoun

    Obsequiousness; submission to authority; compliance with command or prohibition.

    Etymology: obedience, Fr. obedientia, Latin.

    If you violently proceed against him, it would shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. William Shakespeare, K. Lear.

    Thy husband
    Craves no other tribute at thy hands,
    But love, fair looks, and true obedience. William Shakespeare.

    His servants ye are, to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness. Rom. vi. 16.

    It was both a strange commission, and a strange obedience to a commission, for men so furiously assailed, to hold their hands. Francis Bacon, War with Spain.

    Nor can this be,
    But by fulfilling that which thou didst want,
    Obedience to the law of God, impos’d
    On penalty of death. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. xii.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Obediencenoun

    the act of obeying, or the state of being obedient; compliance with that which is required by authority; subjection to rightful restraint or control

  2. Obediencenoun

    words or actions denoting submission to authority; dutifulness

  3. Obediencenoun

    a following; a body of adherents; as, the Roman Catholic obedience, or the whole body of persons who submit to the authority of the pope

  4. Obediencenoun

    a cell (or offshoot of a larger monastery) governed by a prior

  5. Obediencenoun

    one of the three monastic vows

  6. Obediencenoun

    the written precept of a superior in a religious order or congregation to a subject

  7. Etymology: [F. obdience, L. obedientia, oboedientia. See Obedient, and cf. Obeisance.]


  1. Obedience

    Obedience, in human behavior, is a form of "social influence in which a person yields to explicit instructions or orders from an authority figure" Obedience is generally distinguished from compliance, which is behavior influenced by peers, and from conformity, which is behavior intended to match that of the majority. Obedience can be seen as both a sin and a virtue. For example in a situation when one orders a person to kill another innocent person and he or she does this willingly, it is generally considered to be a sin. However when one orders a person to kill an enemy who will end a lot of innocent lives and he or she does this willingly it can be deemed a virtue. Humans have been shown to be surprisingly obedient in the presence of perceived legitimate authority figures, as shown by the Milgram experiment in the 1960s, which was carried-out by Stanley Milgram to find how the Nazis managed to get ordinary people to take part in the mass murders of the Holocaust. The experiment showed that obedience to authority was the norm, not the exception. Regarding obedience, Stanley Milgram said that "Obedience is as basic an element in the structure of social life as one can point to; Some system of authority is a requirement of all communal living, and it is only the man dwelling in isolation who is not forced to respond, through defiance or submission, to the commands of others." A similar conclusion was reached in the Stanford prison experiment.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Obedience

    ō-bē′di-ens, n. state of being obedient: willingness to obey commands: dutifulness: the collective body of persons subject to any particular authority: a written instruction from the superior of an order to those under him: any official position under an abbot's jurisdiction.—adjs. Obē′dient, willing to obey; Obēdien′tial, submissive: obligatory.—adv. Obē′diently.—Canonical obedience, the obedience, as regulated by the canons, of an ecclesiastic to another of higher rank; Passive obedience, unresisting and unquestioning obedience to authority, like that taught by some Anglican divines as due even to faithless and worthless kings like Charles II. and James II.

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. obedience

    1. Expectation on a monument. 2. A dignified retreat from Balaklava. 3. Lex Talionis playing 'possum. 4. The second law of Nature, the first being murder. _E. g._, "After all, it was my brother's Obedience to the Lord that laid the foundation of my glory."--From Cain's _Diary of an Altar-Wrecker_.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. obedience

    (Fr. obéissance). Submission to the orders of a superior. The first principle which ought to be inculcated and impressed upon the mind of every officer and soldier is obedience to all lawful commands. It is the mainspring, the soul and essence of military duty. It is evident that if all officers and soldiers are to judge when an order is lawful and when not, the captious and mutinous would never be at loss for a plea to justify their insubordination. It is, therefore, an established principle, that unless an order is so manifestly against law that the question does not admit of dispute, the order must first be obeyed by the inferior, and he must subsequently seek such redress against his superior as the laws allow. If the inferior disputes the legality before obedience, error of judgment is never admitted in mitigation of the offense. The redress now afforded by the laws to inferiors is not, however, sufficient; for doubtful questions of the construction of statutes, instead of being referred to the Federal courts of law for their true exposition, have received variable expositions from the executive, and left the army in an unfortunate state of uncertainty as to the true meaning of certain laws; and this uncertainty has been most unfavorable to discipline. Again, while the punishment of death is meted to officers and soldiers for disobedience of lawful commands, the law does not protect officers and soldiers for obeying unlawful commands. Instances have occurred in the United States, where officers and soldiers have been subjected to vexatious prosecutions, simply for obeying orders according to their oath of office. Would it not be just if the law, instead of requiring officers and soldiers thus nicely to steer between Scylla and Charybdis, should hold the superior who gives an illegal order alone responsible for its execution?

Matched Categories

How to pronounce obedience?

How to say obedience in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of obedience in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of obedience in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of obedience in a Sentence

  1. Anonymous D:

    Obedience is only practiced by the cowardly.

  2. Valerie Polakow:

    Rigidly organized pre-school classrooms, which value obedience more than development, create the deficits in poor children, imposing a self-image of marginality and failure.

  3. William Shakespeare:

    God bless thee and put meekness in thy mind, love, charity, obedience, and true duty

  4. Duterte Carpio:

    The overwhelming sentiment of the Filipino is that I am not qualified and it would be a violation of the Constitution to circumvent the law, the spirit of the Constitution, and so, in obedience to the will of the people, who after all placed me in the presidency many years ago, I now say, sa mga kababayan ko, sundin ko ang gusto ninyo( my countrymen, I will heed Duterte Carpio advice). And today, I announce my retirement from politics.

  5. Anatole Broyard:

    There was a time when we expected nothing of our children but obedience, as opposed to the present, when we expect everything of them but obedience.

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Translations for obedience

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1 Comment
  • Offic Enoch Woalieh
    Offic Enoch Woalieh
    It is good to obey....
    LikeReplyReport 25 years ago


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"obedience." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 8 Dec. 2022. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/obedience>.

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relating to or involving money
  • A. lacerate
  • B. sesquipedalian
  • C. bristly
  • D. pecuniary

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