[per-mis-iv] /pərˈmɪs ɪv/

habitually or characteristically accepting or tolerant of something, as social behavior or linguistic usage, that others might disapprove or forbid.
granting or denoting :
a permissive nod.
Genetics. (of a cell) replication of a strand of DNA that could be lethal, as a viral segment or mutant gene.
tolerant; lenient: permissive parents
indulgent in matters of sex: a permissive society
granting permission
(archaic) not obligatory

c.1600, “allowing to pass through,” from Old French permissif, from Latin permiss-, past participle stem of permittere “to let go, let pass, let loose” (see permit (v.)). In sense of “tolerant, liberal” it is first recorded 1956; by 1966 it had definite overtones of sexual freedom. Earlier it meant “permitted, allowed” (early 15c.). Related: Permissively; permissiveness.


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