[ suhp-uh l ]
/ ˈsʌp əl /

adjective, sup·pler, sup·plest.

bending readily without breaking or becoming deformed; pliant; flexible: a supple bough.
characterized by ease in bending; limber; lithe: supple movements.
characterized by ease, responsiveness, and adaptability in mental action.
compliant or yielding.
obsequious; servile.

verb (used with or without object), sup·pled, sup·pling.

to make or become supple.

Nearby words

  1. supper club,
  2. suppertime,
  3. suppiluliumas i,
  4. supplant,
  5. supplantation,
  6. supplejack,
  7. supplely,
  8. supplement,
  9. supplemental,
  10. supplemental air

Origin of supple

1250–1300; (adj.) Middle English souple flexible, compliant < Old French: soft, yielding, lithe < Latin supplic- (stem of supplex) submissive, suppliant, equivalent to sup- sup- + -plic-, variously explained as akin to plicāre to fold1, bend (thus meaning “bent over”; cf. complex), or to plācāre to placate1 (thus meaning “in the attitude of a suppliant”); (v.) Middle English supplen to soften, derivative of the noun (compare Old French asoplir)

Related formssup·ple·ness, nounun·sup·ple, adjectiveun·sup·ple·ness, nounun·sup·p·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for supple

British Dictionary definitions for supple


/ (ˈsʌpəl) /


bending easily without damage
capable of or showing easy or graceful movement; lithe
mentally flexible; responding readily
disposed to agree, sometimes to the point of servility


rare to make or become supple
Derived Formssuppleness, noun

Word Origin for supple

C13: from Old French souple, from Latin supplex bowed

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 supple



c.1300, from Old French souple "pliant, flexible," from Gallo-Romance *supples, from Latin supplex (genitive supplicis) "submissive, humbly begging," literally "bending, kneeling down," thought to be an altered form of *supplacos "humbly pleading, appeasing," from sub "under" + placare "appease" (see placate).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper