Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for September 4, 2020 is:

docile • DAH-sul  • adjective

1 : easily taught

2 : easily led or managed : tractable


“The zoo has one bearded dragon, dubbed Six because that number was painted on its back when it arrived…. Six is not on public exhibit but because it’s friendly and docile, the bearded dragon is an ambassador in the zoo’s Wild Connections animal encounter program.” — Meg Jones, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 20 Feb. 2020

“I hate the idea that we have to be polite as women, or we have to be docile. It’s good to be kind, of course, but that we have to be agreeable, and if we’re anything else we’re labeled difficult.” — Elisabeth Moss, quoted in Elle, 8 July 2020

Did you know?

Docile students can make teaching a lot easier. Nowadays, calling students “docile” indicates they aren’t trouble-makers; however, there’s more than just good behavior connecting docility to teachability. The original meaning of docile is more to the point: “readily absorbing something taught.” “The docile mind may soon thy precepts know,” rendered Ben Jonson, for example, in a 17th-century translation of the Roman poet Horace. Docile comes from Latin docēre, which means “to teach.” Other descendants of docēre include doctrine (which can mean “something that is taught”), document (an early meaning of which was “instruction”), and doctor and docent (both of which can refer to college teachers).

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