pli·​ant | \ ˈplī-ənt How to pronounce pliant (audio) \

Definition of pliant

2 : easily influenced : yielding
3 : suitable for varied uses

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Other Words from pliant

pliantly adverb
pliantness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for pliant


bendy [chiefly British], flexible, limber, lissome (also lissom), lithe, lithesome, pliable, supple, willowy


inflexible, rigid, stiff, stiffened

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of pliant in a Sentence

a pliant Congress that will do whatever the President wants a pliant branch bent low with the weight of ripe fruit 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 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 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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Something of a war of wills ensues, in which the fierce but emotionally delicate Alina can’t seem to recognize that Voichita is no longer a pliant waif. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "Cinematic Treasures From an Unexpected Place," 22 Jan. 2019 FIBROBLASTS Plentiful in connective tissue throughout the body, including the dermis, these cells produce the collagen and elastin responsible for keeping skin pliant and springy. Allure, "The Skin-Care Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything You Need to Know," 17 Aug. 2018 The testicles feel almost real — the skin is soft and gently wrinkly; the ball itself is firm, but pliant. Allison P. Davis, The Cut, "Are We Ready for Robot Sex?," 13 May 2018 But that dual-density XtraFoam midsole, which comprises a pliant inner ring and a denser outer ring, is soft and forgiving, designed to absorb energy rather than return it. Ariella Gintzler, Outside Online, "First Impressions: The North Face’s 2019 Gear," 11 July 2018 Some have asked the president for permission to stay on for the rest of their six-year terms, but critics fear the only judges to be granted that permission will be the pliant ones. The Economist, "Poland’s government sacks a third of its Supreme Court," 5 July 2018 The Super Stretch pants are pliant enough for climbing, with the pockets and seams of everyday pants. Ariella Gintzler, Outside Online, "Testing’s New Camping Gear," 1 June 2018 Casey’s skin was eerily lifelike, porous and pliant. Susannah Breslin, The Atlantic, "Porn’s Uncanny Valley," 1 June 2018 Refusing Mr Trump’s demand, or resigning on principle, could well have let the president install a more pliant overseer of Mr Mueller’s investigation. The Economist, "Trump demands that those investigating him be investigated," 24 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of pliant

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near pliant






plica alaris

plica circularis

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Time Traveler for pliant

The first known use of pliant was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pliant



English Language Learners Definition of pliant

: able to bend without breaking
: able to move freely
: too easily influenced or controlled by other people


pli·​ant | \ ˈplī-ənt How to pronounce pliant (audio) \

Kids Definition of pliant

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More from Merriam-Webster on pliant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pliant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pliant

Spanish Central: Translation of pliant

Nglish: Translation of pliant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pliant for Arabic Speakers

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