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See more synonyms for pliant on Thesaurus.com
  1. bending readily; flexible; supple; adaptable: She manipulated the pliant clay.
  2. easily influenced; yielding to others; compliant: He has a pliant nature.
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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


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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for pliant

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • So slight, yet so round, so trim, yet so pliant—she was grace itself.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • The pileus is thin, pliant when fresh but somewhat brittle when dry.

  • Unhappily I am not a Greek woman, pliant to the whims of artists and voluptuaries.

    King Candaules

    Thophile Gautier

  • Bend to the earth our pliant knees, And speak—but as our masters please?

    The Liberty Minstrel

    George W. Clark

  • The atmosphere that surrounds us is so often treacherous to our pliant natures!

    The Choice of Life

    Georgette Leblanc

British Dictionary definitions for pliant


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

Word Origin

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 pliant


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper