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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 unpliable
Historical Examples
  • Her very lips were stiff and unpliable with the force of the blood which rushed to her head.


    Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
  • In vain, anxious to be let off, was I restrained in utterance—cold, unpliable.

    Confession W. Gilmore Simms
  • How grotesque her features were, so hard and unpliable seemed her flesh.

    The Land of Look Behind Paul Cameron Brown
  • They are clumsy to place, burdensome to carry, and stiff and unpliable to the chafing point.

    Camp and Trail Stewart Edward White
  • Water-glass soaps do not dissolve readily in water, they make but little suds, and render the skin hard and unpliable.

  • All her life, as it seemed, she had been accustomed to mediate between these two unpliable and stubborn temperaments.

    The Market-Place Harold Frederic
British Dictionary definitions for unpliable


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 unpliable



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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