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[meek] /mik/
adjective, meeker, meekest.
humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.
overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame.
Obsolete. gentle; kind.
Origin of meek
1150-1200; Middle English meke, meoc < Old Norse mjūkr soft, mild, meek
Related forms
meekly, adverb
meekness, noun
overmeek, adjective
overmeekly, adverb
overmeekness, noun
1. forbearing; yielding; unassuming; pacific, calm, soft. See gentle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for meekness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His family were relieved by his meekness with regard to the May Day festival.

    More William Richmal Crompton
  • Thus have we restored our brother in the spirit of meekness.

    The Story of My Life Egerton Ryerson
  • He must be clothed with meekness from Heaven, or the provocations of the people will be apt to embitter his spirit.

  • For he had insulted her as well, beyond what pride or meekness could put up with.

    Beyond John Galsworthy
  • Though the fellow hath the bravery of a lion, he hath the meekness of a lamb.

    Amelia Henry Fielding
  • Ralston would be the last man to accept an affront with meekness.

    'Me-Smith' Caroline Lockhart
  • Commit your cause in meekness (forgiving your oppressors) to God, and your sentence shall come back from Him laughing.

    Letters of Samuel Rutherford Samuel Rutherford
  • This name is obtained from the meekness and innocence of the inhabitants.

  • A prayer then followed, the spirit of which appeared to me perfect in hopefulness, meekness, and gentleness.

British Dictionary definitions for meekness


patient, long-suffering, or submissive in disposition or nature; humble
spineless or spiritless; compliant
an obsolete word for gentle
Derived Forms
meekly, adverb
meekness, noun
Word Origin
C12: related to Old Norse mjūkr amenable; compare Welsh mwytho to soften
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
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Word Origin and History for meekness

c.1200, meknesse; see meek (adj.) + -ness.



c.1200, "gentle, quiet, unaggressive; benevolent, kind; courteous, humble, unassuming;" of a woman, "modest," from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse mjukr "soft, pliant, gentle"), from Proto-Germanic *meukaz (cf. Gothic muka-modei "humility," Dutch muik "soft"), of uncertain origin, perhaps from PIE *meug- "slippery, slimy." In the Bible, it translates Latin mansuetus from Vulgate (see mansuetude). Sense of "submissive" is from mid-14c.


"those who are meek," c.1200, from meek (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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meekness in the Bible

a calm temper of mind, not easily provoked (James 3:13). Peculiar promises are made to the meek (Matt. 5:5; Isa. 66:2). The cultivation of this spirit is enjoined (Col. 3:12; 1 Tim. 6:11; Zeph. 2:3), and is exemplified in Christ (Matt. 11:29), Abraham (Gen. 13; 16:5, 6) Moses (Num. 12:3), David (Zech. 12:8; 2 Sam. 16:10, 12), and Paul (1 Cor. 9:19).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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