Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Readily bent; pliant.
  • adj. Moving and bending with agility; limber.
  • adj. Yielding or changing readily; compliant or adaptable. See Synonyms at flexible.
  • transitive v. To make or become supple.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. pliant, easy to bend
  • adj. lithe and agile when moving and bending
  • adj. flexible and compliant
  • v. To make or become supple.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pliant; flexible; easily bent.
  • adj. Yielding compliant; not obstinate; submissive to guidance.
  • adj. Bending to the humor of others; flattering; fawning; obsequious.
  • intransitive v. To become soft and pliant.
  • transitive v. To make soft and pliant; to render flexible.
  • transitive v. To make compliant, submissive, or obedient.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pliant; flexible; easily bent: as, supple joints; supple fingers.
  • Yielding; compliant; not obstinate.
  • Capable of adapting one's self to the wishes and opinions of others; bending to the humor of others; obsequious; fawning; also, characterized by such obsequiousness, as words and acts.
  • Tending to make pliant or pliable; soothing.
  • Synonyms Lithe, limber, lissome.
  • To make supple; make pliant; render flexible: as, to supple leather.
  • To make compliant, submissive, humble, or yielding.
  • Specifically, to train (a saddle-horse) by making him yield with docility to the rein, bending his neck to left or right at the slightest pressure.
  • To soothe.
  • To become soft and pliant.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. (used of e.g. personality traits) readily adaptable
  • adj. (used of persons' bodies) capable of moving or bending freely
  • v. make pliant and flexible
  • adj. moving and bending with ease

Etymologies

Middle English souple, from Old French, from Latin supplex, suppliant; see plāk-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English souple, from Old French souple, soupple ("soft, lithe, yielding"), from Latin supplic-, supplex ("suppliant, submissive, kneeling"), of uncertain formation. Either from sub + plicō ("bend") (compare complex), or from sub + plācō ("placate"). More at sub-, placate. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • jello: firm yet supple

    August 29, 2008