com·​ply | \kəm-ˈplī \
complied; complying

Definition of comply 

intransitive verb

1 obsolete : to be ceremoniously courteous

2 : 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

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

The government was unable to comply fully: Only 38 of the youngsters were reunited with their parents Tuesday, according to federal officials. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, "Unmarked vans, security fences: family reunification proceeds behind curtain of secrecy," 12 July 2018 In states where usury laws cap interest rates, the company lowers its highest rate - 36 percent - to comply. Peter Whoriskey,, "Unsolicited checks can be a lifeline and an albatross," 2 July 2018 Program funding is limited, and participants must comply with requirements that include a simple landscape plan, plant coverage, mulch, rainwater capture and irrigation technology. Pomerado News, "Water agencies increase incentives to replace turf," 13 July 2018 In 1974, in United States v. Nixon, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Nixon had to comply with a subpoena seeking tapes of his conversations in the Oval Office. Adam Liptak, New York Times, "Showdown on a Trump Subpoena Could Overshadow Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation," 10 July 2018 But Elm Street’s project along Marley Creek had to comply with environmental rules enacted by the state in recent years to help save the Chesapeake Bay from ecological disaster. Lara Korte, WSJ, "Developers Go With the Flow as New Water Rules Kick In," 10 July 2018 Laughren, Buenconsejo, and Siegel apparently complied with existing federal laws and FDA requirements. Charles Piller, Science | AAAS, "FDA’s revolving door: Companies often hire agency staffers who managed their successful drug reviews," 5 July 2018 The state had estimated about 30 percent of current recipients would have to comply. Maureen Groppe, Indianapolis Star, "Federal judge's rejection of Kentucky's Medicaid work requirements threatens Indiana's program," 29 June 2018 That has drawn protests from taxi drivers who say Uber drivers don't have to comply with the same licensing standards as London's storied black cab drivers, giving the ride-hailing service an unfair advantage and placing the public at risk. Danica Kirka,, "Uber wins back license in London — but is put on probation," 26 June 2018

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 1

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

11 Nov 2018

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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 \
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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