Difference Between
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Obey vs. Submit: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Obey means to follow the instructions or commands of someone, while submit refers to yielding or surrendering oneself to the authority or will of another.
Obey vs. Submit

Key Differences

Obeying involves adhering to commands or rules, often implying compliance with specific instructions. Submitting, however, involves yielding or giving in, often suggesting a relinquishment of control or resistance.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023
Obey is frequently used in contexts where there is a clear directive or command, such as in a military or parental setting. Submit tends to be used in contexts involving authority or bureaucracy, like submitting to a process, authority, or judgment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023
To obey often suggests a choice to follow orders or rules, while to submit can imply a lack of choice, often connoting resignation or acquiescence.
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Dec 05, 2023
Obedience is often viewed in terms of discipline and order, while submission can carry connotations of submissiveness or even subservience.
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Dec 05, 2023
In obeying, one may still retain some sense of agency in choosing to comply. In submitting, there is often a stronger sense of giving up one's agency or power to another.
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Dec 05, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Nature of Action

Adhering to commands or rules.
Yielding or surrendering to authority.
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Dec 05, 2023

Typical Context

Military, parental, or institutional settings.
Legal, bureaucratic, or authoritative contexts.
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Dec 05, 2023

Implications of Choice

Suggests a choice to comply.
Often implies a lack of choice, resignation.
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Connotation

Discipline, order.
Submissiveness, acquiescence.
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Dec 05, 2023

Degree of Agency

Retains some agency in compliance.
Stronger sense of relinquishing agency.
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Dec 05, 2023
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Obey and Submit Definitions

Obey

To follow the directions or commands of someone.
The soldiers were trained to obey their superiors without question.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023

Submit

To yield or surrender to the authority of another.
She had to submit to the court's decision.
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Dec 05, 2023

Obey

To comply with or adhere to rules or standards.
Children are taught to obey the rules of the school.
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Dec 05, 2023

Submit

To give in or agree to something reluctantly.
After much debate, he finally submitted to their demands.
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Dec 05, 2023

Obey

To act in accordance with a command or request.
He decided to obey his doctor's advice and rest.
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Submit

To subject to a process or treatment.
The samples were submitted for testing.
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Dec 05, 2023

Obey

To be governed or affected by a particular law or rule.
All residents must obey the local zoning laws.
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Dec 05, 2023

Submit

To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.
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Oct 19, 2023

Obey

To respond readily to or be controlled by some influence.
The dog was trained to obey hand signals.
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Dec 05, 2023

Submit

To subject to a condition or process
Submit a tissue sample to testing.
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Oct 19, 2023

Obey

To carry out or fulfill the command, order, or instruction of.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To present (something) to the consideration or judgment of another
We submitted our ideas to our supervisor.
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Oct 19, 2023

Obey

To carry out or comply with (a command, for example).
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To offer as a proposition or contention
I submit that the terms are entirely unreasonable.
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Oct 19, 2023

Obey

To behave obediently.
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To accept or give in to the authority, power, or will of another.
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Oct 19, 2023

Obey

(transitive) To do as ordered by (a person, institution etc), to act according to the bidding of.
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To allow oneself to be subjected to something
Submit to an interview.
Submit to drug testing.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Obey

(intransitive) To do as one is told.
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

(intransitive) To yield or give way to another.
They will not submit to the destruction of their rights.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Obey

To be obedient, compliant (to a given law, restriction etc.).
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Submit

(transitive) To yield (something) to another, as when defeated.
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Oct 19, 2023

Obey

To give ear to; to execute the commands of; to yield submission to; to comply with the orders of.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord.
Was she the God, that her thou didst obey?
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

(ambitransitive) To enter or put forward for approval, consideration, marking etc.
I submit these plans for your approval.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Obey

To submit to the authority of; to be ruled by.
My will obeyed his will.
Afric and India shall his power obey.
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

(transitive) To subject; to put through a process.
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Oct 19, 2023

Obey

To yield to the impulse, power, or operation of; as, a ship obeys her helm.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To win a fight against (an opponent) by submission.
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Oct 19, 2023

Obey

To give obedience.
Will he obey when one commands?
His servants ye are, to whom ye obey.
He commanded the trumpets to sound: to which the two brave knights obeying, they performed their courses.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To let down; to lower.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Obey

Be obedient to
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To put or place under.
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To let down; to lower.
Sometimes the hill submits itself a while.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To put or place under.
The bristled throatOf the submitted sacrifice with ruthless steel he cut.
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To yield, resign, or surrender to power, will, or authority; - often with the reflexive pronoun.
Ye ben submitted through your free assent.
The angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To leave or commit to the discretion or judgment of another or others; to refer; as, to submit a controversy to arbitrators; to submit a question to the court; - often followed by a dependent proposition as the object.
Whether the condition of the clergy be able to bear a heavy burden, is submitted to the house.
We submit that a wooden spoon of our day would not be justified in calling Galileo and Napier blockheads because they never heard of the differential calculus.
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To yield one's person to the power of another; to give up resistance; to surrender.
The revolted provinces presently submitted.
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To yield one's opinion to the opinion of authority of another; to be subject; to acquiesce.
To thy husband's willThine shall submit.
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To be submissive or resigned; to yield without murmuring.
Our religion requires from us . . . to submit to pain, disgrace, and even death.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Submit

Refer for judgment or consideration;
She submitted a proposal to the agency
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

Put before;
I submit to you that the accused is guilty
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

Yield to the control of another
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

Hand over formally
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

Refer to another person for decision or judgment;
She likes to relegate difficult questions to her colleagues
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

Submit or yield to another's wish or opinion;
The government bowed to the military pressure
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

Accept or undergo, often unwillingly;
We took a pay cut
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

Make an application as for a job or funding;
We put in a grant to the NSF
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

Make over as a return;
They had to render the estate
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

Accept as inevitable;
He resigned himself to his fate
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Oct 19, 2023

Submit

To present or propose something for consideration.
He decided to submit his novel to a publisher.
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Dec 05, 2023

Submit

To enter or present oneself for judgment or evaluation.
Candidates must submit their applications by Friday.
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Dec 05, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What's an example of obedience in daily life?

Following traffic rules while driving.
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Dec 05, 2023

What is submitting a document?

Presenting a document for review or consideration.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can obedience be voluntary?

Yes, one can choose to obey out of respect or agreement.
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Dec 05, 2023

Does obey have a positive connotation?

Often, especially in contexts like law or discipline.
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Dec 05, 2023

How does one submit to authority?

By acknowledging and complying with their power or rules.
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Dec 05, 2023

Is submission always forced?

Not always; it can be a voluntary act of deference.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can submission be empowering?

Yes, when it's a choice, it can be an act of strength.
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Dec 05, 2023

What does 'obey your thirst' imply?

To listen to and act on your desires or needs.
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Dec 05, 2023

What does submitting a plan entail?

Offering a plan for evaluation or approval.
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Dec 05, 2023

What does it mean to obey a law?

To comply with or follow the rules set by the law.
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Dec 05, 2023

What role does obedience play in education?

It fosters discipline and respect for rules and authority.
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Dec 05, 2023

What does it mean to submit to a process?

To engage in and follow through with a set procedure.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can obedience be harmful?

Yes, if it leads to following harmful or unethical orders.
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Dec 05, 2023

How do religions view obedience?

Often as a virtue, especially in following religious precepts.
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Dec 05, 2023

How is submission used in a workplace?

Submitting reports or proposals for approval.
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Dec 05, 2023

Is submission a sign of weakness?

Not necessarily; context and intent are important.
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Dec 05, 2023

What is a submission in martial arts?

A technique used to defeat an opponent, often by yielding.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can one submit an idea?

Yes, presenting an idea for consideration is submitting it.
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Dec 05, 2023

What is the difference between obey and follow?

Obey is more authoritative, while follow can be less formal.
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Dec 05, 2023

Is obedience mandatory in military service?

Yes, it's a fundamental aspect of military discipline.
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Dec 05, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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