When animals live in packs, one animal is usually the dominant leader, while the others fall into more submissive roles. To be submissive is to obey or yield to someone else.

When you are submissive, you submit to someone else's will, which literally, you put your own desires lower than theirs. You can see this in the Latin root of submit, submittere, which is formed by sub- "under" + mittere "send, put."

Definitions of submissive

adj inclined or willing to submit to orders or wishes of others or showing such inclination

submissive servants”
“a submissive reply”
“replacing troublemakers with more submissive people”
inclined to timidity or lack of self-confidence
showing humiliation or submissiveness
bowed, bowing
showing an excessively deferential manner
meek, spiritless
evidencing little spirit or courage; overly submissive or compliant
cringing, groveling, grovelling, wormlike, wormy
totally submissive
dominated, henpecked
harassed by persistent nagging
dutifully complying with the commands or instructions of those in authority
marked by meekness or modesty; not arrogant or prideful
subject or submissive to authority or the control of another
tending to domineer
authoritarian, dictatorial, overbearing
expecting unquestioning obedience
autocratic, bossy, dominating, high-and-mighty, magisterial, peremptory
offensively self-assured or given to exercising usually unwarranted power
blustery, bullying
noisily domineering; tending to browbeat others
cavalier, high-handed
given to haughty disregard of others
heavy-handed, roughshod
unjustly domineering
oppressive, tyrannical, tyrannous
marked by unjust severity or arbitrary behavior
having or showing an exaggerated opinion of your importance, ability, etc
show more antonyms...

adj abjectly submissive; characteristic of a slave or servant

“she has become submissive and subservient”
slavish, subservient
submissive or fawning in attitude or behavior

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.