[plahy-uh-buh l]


easily bent; flexible; supple: pliable leather.
easily influenced or persuaded; yielding: the pliable mind of youth.
adjusting readily to change; adaptable.

Origin of pliable

1425–75; late Middle English < French, equivalent to pli(er) to ply2 + -able -able
Related formspli·a·bil·i·ty, pli·a·ble·ness, nounpli·a·bly, adverbnon·pli·a·bil·i·ty, nounnon·pli·a·ble, adjectivenon·pli·a·ble·ness, nounnon·pli·a·bly, adverbun·pli·a·ble, adjectiveun·pli·a·ble·ness, nounun·pli·a·bly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pliable

Contemporary Examples of pliable

  • Another notable region is nicknamed “Pigeon Valley” for the thousands of bird nesting holes dug into the pliable rock.

  • Could the West rely on the more or less faceless Libyan opposition, a rabble in arms, to be so pliable?

    The Daily Beast logo
    Obama's Mistake in Libya

    Christopher Dickey

    March 8, 2011

  • The rope tier takes pleasure in using the human body and the rope to create an erotic, pliable work of art.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Eight Strange Sex Fetishes

    Aurora Snow

    December 16, 2010

  • To keep himself loose and pliable and imbued with the mischievousness that nourished him, Paul often resorted to practical jokes.

    The Daily Beast logo
    My Pal Paul Newman

    A. E. Hotchner

    March 19, 2010

Historical Examples of pliable

  • Pliable finding the road disagreeable has soon had enough of it.


    James Anthony Froude

  • Pliable thinks that there may be something in what he says, and offers to go with him.


    James Anthony Froude

  • Covers should first be steamed to make them soft and pliable.

  • At the time of using, first see that the brush is soft and pliable.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes

  • Linen is less elastic and pliable than cotton and bleaches and dyes readily.


    William H. Dooley

British Dictionary definitions for pliable



easily moulded, bent, influenced, or altered
Derived Formspliability or pliableness, nounpliably, 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

Word Origin and History for pliable

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper