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adjective sup·ple \ˈsə-pəl also ˈsü-\

Simple Definition of supple

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

  • : soft and able to bend or fold easily

Full Definition of supple

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

  1. 1a :  compliant often to the point of obsequiousnessb :  readily adaptable or responsive to new situations

  2. 2a :  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 play \-pə(l)-lē\ or sup·ply play \-p(ə-)lē\ adverb
sup·ple·ness play \-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>.



verb sup·ple

Definition of supple

sup·pledsup·pling play \-p(ə-)liŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make pacific or complaisant <supple the tempers of your race — Laurence Sterne>

  3. 2 :  to alleviate with a salve

  4. 3 :  to make flexible or pliant

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to become soft and pliant

14th Century

First Known Use of supple

14th century

Rhymes with supple

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up supple? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

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