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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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of supple

suppler play \-p(ə-)lər\ supplest 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>

supplely play \-pə(l)-lē\ or supply play \-p(ə-)lē\ adverb
suppleness play \-pəl-nəs\ noun

Examples of supple in a sentence

  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

suppledsuppling 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

SUPPLE Defined for Kids


adjective sup·ple \ˈsə-pəl\

Definition of supple for Students

suppler \ˈsə-plər\supplest \ˈsə-pləst\

  1. 1 :  capable of bending or of being bent easily without stiffness, creases, or damage <a supple body> <supple leather>

  2. 2 :  adaptable <a supple mind>

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).


to dishevel or rumple

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