sup·​ple | \ˈsə-pəl also ˈsü- \
suppler\ˈsə-​p(ə-​)lər \; supplest\ˈsə-​p(ə-​)ləst \

Definition of supple 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : compliant often to the point of obsequiousness

b : readily adaptable or responsive to new situations

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


suppled; suppling\ˈsə-​p(ə-​)liŋ \

Definition of supple (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make pacific or complaisant supple the tempers of your race— Laurence Sterne

2 : to alleviate with a salve

3 : to make flexible or pliant

intransitive verb

: to become soft and pliant

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Other Words from supple


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

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of supple in a Sentence


a dome tent outfitted with supple fiberglass tent poles shoes made from supple leather

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

By contrast, the Model 3's supple steering doesn't require much wheel turning to keep the Tesla within a freeway lane. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "The 10 Hardest Things To Get Used to on the Tesla Model 3," 10 Oct. 2018 For soft and supple limbs, Czech likes to use Environ's Dermalac Lotion mixed with its A, C, & E Oil, and then applied with Biologique Recherche's Massage Gloves. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Six Top Aestheticians Share Their Skin-Care Routines," 23 Sep. 2018 The quenelle-like fishballs were at once springy and creamy, the rice noodles supple, the broth clear and sure of purpose. Matt Gross, New York Times, "Where to Find Bangkok’s Best Street Food While You Can," 9 Apr. 2018 There are no sharp edges to cut into your wrists, just soft, supple real leather. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Hands-on: HP’s leather-clad laptop might just be the best convertible around," 1 Oct. 2018 That’s how the House of Dior described the key idea behind designer Maria Grazia Chiuri’s soft and supple 87-piece show in monochrome and nude. Thomas Adamson, The Seattle Times, "Dior and Gucci theatrically kick off Paris Fashion Week," 24 Sep. 2018 These formulas will leave your skin as supple and radiant as your favorite moisturizer. Sophie Wirt, Allure, "The Best Foundations for Dry Skin, According to Makeup Artists," 18 July 2018 The dough is supple but sturdy, not a mere diaphanous veil but offering a bite of its own. New York Times, "Modern Russian Dumplings That Nod to the Past," 26 Apr. 2018 Instead, Bell shaped fast-flying figurations to bring forth the melodic shapes underlying the fireworks, Alsop providing a supple orchestral cushion. Howard Reich,, "CSO at Ravinia review: Marin Alsop poetically launches Bernstein tribute," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'supple.' 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 supple


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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Statistics for supple

Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for supple

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

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More Definitions for supple



English Language Learners Definition of supple

of a body or body part : able to bend or twist easily

: soft and able to bend or fold easily


sup·​ple | \ˈsə-pəl \
suppler\ˈsə-​plər \; supplest\ˈsə-​pləst \

Kids Definition of supple

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

2 : adaptable a supple mind

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More from Merriam-Webster on supple

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with supple

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for supple

Spanish Central: Translation of supple

Nglish: Translation of supple for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of supple for Arabic Speakers

Comments on supple

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to enclose within walls

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