adjective sup·ple \ˈsə-pəl also ˈsü-\

of a body or body part : able to bend or twist easily

: soft and able to bend or fold easily

sup·pler \-p(ə-)lər\ sup·plest \-p(ə-)ləst\

Full Definition of SUPPLE

a :  compliant often to the point of obsequiousness
b :  readily adaptable or responsive to new situations
a :  capable of being bent or folded without creases, cracks, or breaks :  pliant <supple leather>
b :  able to perform bending or twisting movements with ease :  limber <supple legs of a dancer>
c :  easy and fluent without stiffness or awkwardness <sang with a lively, supple voice — Douglas Watt>
sup·ple·ly \-pə(l)-lē\ or sup·ply \-p(ə-)lē\ adverb
sup·ple·ness \-pəl-nəs\ noun

Examples of SUPPLE

  1. <a dome tent outfitted with supple fiberglass tent poles>
  2. <shoes made from supple leather>

Origin of SUPPLE

Middle English souple, from Anglo-French suple, from Latin supplic-, supplex entreating for mercy, supplicant, perhaps from sub- + -plic- (akin to plicare to fold) — more at ply
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of SUPPLE

elastic, resilient, springy, flexible, supple mean able to endure strain without being permanently injured. elastic implies the property of resisting deformation by stretching <an elastic waistband>. resilient implies the ability to recover shape quickly when the deforming force or pressure is removed <a resilient innersole>. springy stresses both the ease with which something yields to pressure and the quickness of its return to original shape <the cake is done when the top is springy>. flexible applies to something which may or may not be resilient or elastic but which can be bent or folded without breaking <flexible plastic tubing>. supple applies to something that can be readily bent, twisted, or folded without any sign of injury <supple leather>.


sup·pledsup·pling \-p(ə-)liŋ\

Definition of SUPPLE

transitive verb
:  to make pacific or complaisant <supple the tempers of your race — Laurence Sterne>
:  to alleviate with a salve
:  to make flexible or pliant
intransitive verb
:  to become soft and pliant

First Known Use of SUPPLE

14th century

Rhymes with SUPPLE

SUPPLED Defined for Kids


adjective sup·ple \ˈsə-pəl\
sup·pler \ˈsə-plər\sup·plest \ˈsə-pləst\

Definition of SUPPLE for Kids

:  capable of bending or of being bent easily without stiffness, creases, or damage <a supple body> <supple leather>
:  adaptable <a supple mind>


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