com·​ply | \ kəm-ˈplī How to pronounce comply (audio) \
complied; complying

Definition of comply

intransitive verb

1 : to conform, submit, or adapt (as to a regulation or to another's wishes) as required or requested comply with federal law the devices comply with industry standards
2 obsolete : to be ceremoniously courteous

Examples of comply in a Sentence

I asked the waitress to refill my coffee cup and she happily complied. There will be penalties against individuals who fail to comply.

Recent Examples on the Web

Even if Taliban leadership does comply, how can the Trump administration be assured that the old-school Taliban have any control over the newer generation of fighters? Rachel Marsden, Twin Cities, "Rachel Marsden: U.S. still hasn’t punished everyone responsible for 9/11," 11 Sep. 2019 Employers who do choose to impose these charges must comply with specific requirements, including making required health expenditures, maintaining records and posting ordinance notices in workplaces. Elaine Ingalls, The Mercury News, "Santa Cruz County restaurants add surcharge to bill for employee living expenses," 7 Sep. 2019 The agency’s action complies with a ruling by a federal judge last year that said FWS’s 2017 removal of the grizzlies from the list violated the Endangered Species Act. Katie Camero, Science | AAAS, "Yellowstone grizzly bears are again listed as threatened," 1 Aug. 2019 When officers tried taking her into custody, the mother wouldn't comply, according to the report. Fox News, "Texas mom accused of leaving infant in running car, taking shots in nightclub: police," 30 July 2019 All vendors in the state of Ohio must comply with the sales tax. Briana Rice,, "Back to school shopping: What to know about Ohio's school sales tax weekend," 28 July 2019 Additionally, companies who want to get or keep their certification must also comply with any third-party audits Leaping Bunny mandates. Claire Gillespie, SELF, "A Beginner’s Guide to Vegan and Cruelty-Free Makeup and Skin Care," 12 July 2019 After Kingshill complied, and left her purse in the sedan, Bell got behind the wheel and sped away, court records state. Zach Despart, Houston Chronicle, "City Council block walker robbed in Sunnyside, Houston police say," 14 Sep. 2019 Clearly frustrated with protesters' criticisms, Yang tells CNN that the lamp posts fully comply with Hong Kong's privacy laws, and that data generated by the posts is analyzed, anonymized and posted publicly, with any raw data instantly deleted. Caitlin Hu, CNN, "What Hong Kong's masked protesters fear," 10 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'comply.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of comply

1602, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for comply

Italian complire, from Spanish cumplir to complete, perform what is due, be courteous, modification of Latin complēre to complete

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Statistics for comply

Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for comply

The first known use of comply was in 1602

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English Language Learners Definition of comply

: to do what you have been asked or ordered to do


com·​ply | \ kəm-ˈplī How to pronounce comply (audio) \
complied; complying

Kids Definition of comply

: to act in agreement with another's wishes or in obedience to a rule Everyone complied with the request.

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More from Merriam-Webster on comply

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with comply

Spanish Central: Translation of comply

Nglish: Translation of comply for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of comply for Arabic Speakers

Comments on comply

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


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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