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[plahy-uh-buh l] /ˈplaɪ ə bəl/
easily bent; flexible; supple:
pliable leather.
easily influenced or persuaded; yielding:
the pliable mind of youth.
adjusting readily to change; adaptable.
Origin of pliable
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < French, equivalent to pli(er) to ply2 + -able -able
Related forms
pliability, pliableness, noun
pliably, adverb
nonpliability, noun
nonpliable, adjective
nonpliableness, noun
nonpliably, adverb
unpliable, adjective
unpliableness, noun
unpliably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pliability
Historical Examples
  • The grander the nature the greater its pliability towards truth.

  • If I fail, recollect that he is not proverbial for pliability.


    Augusta Jane Evans Wilson
  • When dried the leather should always be treated with dressing to restore its pliability.

  • It was not clever to rest so much on the pliability of a “society lady” with whom she was unacquainted.

    The Arena Various
  • Beneath her pliability she was now all firmness; the pliability had become a mockery.

    A Far Country, Complete Winston Churchill
  • Thousands of other instances might be adduced to show the pliability of the system.

    Popery Edward Hoare
  • The man had the tenacity of a Bruce or a Columbus, with a pliability that was all his own.

    Familiar Studies of Men and Books Robert Louis Stevenson
  • But there—with that supply of a convenient fiction—his pliability stopped.

    Sophy of Kravonia Anthony Hope
  • I went, and was much impressed by the length of the flue-brush and its pliability.

    Dimbie and I--and Amelia Mabel Barnes-Grundy
  • But for once Mr. Harborough's love of sport exceeds his pliability.

    Doctor Cupid Rhoda Broughton
British Dictionary definitions for pliability


easily moulded, bent, influenced, or altered
Derived Forms
pliability, pliableness, noun
pliably, adverb
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 pliability



late 14c., from Old French ploiable "flexible, bendable," from plier "to bend" (see ply (n.)). Related: Pliably, pliability.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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