adjective pli·ant \ ˈplī-ənt \
|Updated on: 23 Jul 2018

Definition of pliant

1 : pliable 1a
2 : easily influenced : yielding
3 : suitable for varied uses





Examples of pliant in a Sentence

  1. a pliant Congress that will do whatever the President wants

  2. a pliant branch bent low with the weight of ripe fruit

  3. It was the same now, only instead of seeing with his eyes, he was feeling with his hands. The clay felt good—fine, pliant, smooth—but not ready yet. —“Chapter 7” P. 75, A SINGLE SHARD, Linda Sue Park, A Dell Yearling Book, Random House, Inc., New York, (2001) 2003

  4. Safran Foer, despite his youth (he was born in 1977), is as skilled in the management of pathos as he is in the more pliant art of ventriloquism. That said, his mastery of voice and technique owes much to an almost rapacious synthesis of the best examples. Isaac Babel, Salman Rushdie and Franz Kafka are among the names that come to mind as one passage of bravura writing follows another. —“Elliptical Idiolects” P. 21, Henry Hitchings, THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT, June 14, 2002

  5. Then, without warning, he starts in on the chorus of Eres Mia (You Are Mine), a song that he says reminds him of his wife. His pliant and melodious voice rises and falls, conveying a sense of yearning. He sustains a note in space. Though only 5 ft. 7 in. tall and thin as a reed, he carries the voice of a giant. —“Best of Both Worlds” P. 11, Carole Buia, TIME Vol. 158 No. 14, Fall 2001

  6. And, as if the current legal system weren’t helpful enough to Putin, a think tank he formed last December is now developing proposals to make it still more pliant. According to a newly released plan, the constitutional court and the superior arbitrage court would be abolished, their functions handed to the Supreme Court—which is to say, back to the old Soviet-style system. —“Beat the Press” P. 18, Masha Gessen, THE NEW REPUBLIC Vol. 222 No. 23, June 5, 2000

Recent Examples of pliant from the Web

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

First Known Use of pliant

14th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
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Synonym Discussion of pliant

plastic, pliable, pliant, ductile, malleable, adaptable mean susceptible of being modified in form or nature. plastic applies to substances soft enough to be molded yet capable of hardening into the desired fixed form.
    • plastic materials allow the sculptor greater freedom
pliable suggests something easily bent, folded, twisted, or manipulated.
    • pliable rubber tubing
pliant may stress flexibility and sometimes connote springiness.
    • an athletic shoe with a pliant sole
ductile applies to what can be drawn out or extended with ease.
    • ductile metals such as copper
malleable applies to what may be pressed or beaten into shape.
    • the malleable properties of gold
adaptable implies the capability of being easily modified to suit other conditions, needs, or uses.
    • computer hardware that is adaptable

PLIANT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of pliant for English Language Learners

  • : able to bend without breaking

  • : able to move freely

  • : too easily influenced or controlled by other people

PLIANT Defined for Kids


adjective pli·ant \ ˈplī-ənt \

Definition of pliant for Students

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excessive admiration or flattery

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