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  1. bending readily; flexible; supple; adaptable: She manipulated the pliant clay.
  2. easily influenced; yielding to others; compliant: He has a pliant nature.

Origin of pliant

1300–50; Middle English < Old French, present participle of plier to ply2; see -ant
Related formspli·an·cy, pli·ant·ness, nounpli·ant·ly, adverbnon·pli·an·cy, nounnon·pli·ant, adjectivenon·pli·ant·ly, adverbnon·pli·ant·ness, nounun·pli·an·cy, nounun·pli·ant, adjectiveun·pli·ant·ly, adverbun·pli·ant·ness, noun

Synonyms for pliant

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1, 2. pliable, flexile. See flexible. 2. manageable, tractable, docile. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pliancy

Historical Examples of pliancy

British Dictionary definitions for pliancy


  1. easily bent; supplea pliant young tree
  2. easily modified; adaptable; flexiblea pliant system
  3. yielding readily to influence; compliant
Derived Formspliancy or pliantness, nounpliantly, adverb

Word Origin for pliant

C14: from Old French, from plier to fold, bend; see ply ²
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 pliancy



late 14c., from Old French ploiant "bending, supple; compliant, fickle," as a noun, "turncoat" (13c.), present participle of ploier "to bend" (see ply (n.)). Figurative sense of "easily influenced" is from c.1400. Related: Pliancy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper