supple

adjective
sup·​ple | \ ˈsə-pəl also ˈsü- How to pronounce supple (audio) \
suppler\ ˈsə-​p(ə-​)lər How to pronounce suppler (audio) \; supplest\ ˈsə-​p(ə-​)ləst How to pronounce supplest (audio) \

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

supple

verb
suppled; suppling\ ˈsə-​p(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce suppling (audio) \

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

Adjective

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for supple

Synonyms: Adjective

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

Antonyms: Adjective

inflexible, rigid, stiff, stiffened

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Choose the Right Synonym for supple

Adjective

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

Adjective

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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

These sheets are light and billowy and supple, like sleeping on clouds. Amanda Sims, House Beautiful, "Snowe’s New Linen Sheets Are Literally Air-Whipped for Fluffiness," 27 Feb. 2019 For coverage that won’t turn cakey, Raouf reaches for airy, tinted moisturizers or fluid hydrating foundations, all of which keep skin supple and bouncy with super-lightweight textures. Vogue, "How to Get Next-Level Glowing Skin, According to a Top Makeup Artist," 21 Sep. 2018 Their job—now and in the coming decade—is, in a supple, clever and concerted way, to save the free-market system from those who would dismantle it. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "Republicans Need to Save Capitalism," 14 Feb. 2019 Physical therapy to keep your joints as supple as possible is one of the many other options for treating rheumatoid arthritis, though the condition may require surgery to address joint damage that’s really giving you trouble. Korin Miller, SELF, "Here’s What It Means If Your Knee Just Won’t Stop Popping," 23 Sep. 2018 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

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

Adjective

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

Verb

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

History and Etymology for supple

Adjective

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

7 Mar 2019

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

supple

adjective

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

supple

adjective
sup·​ple | \ ˈsə-pəl How to pronounce supple (audio) \
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

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