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sup·​pli·​ant ˈsə-plē-ənt How to pronounce suppliant (audio)


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: humbly imploring : entreating
a suppliant sinner seeking forgivenessO. J. Baab
: expressing supplication
upraised to the heavens … suppliant armsWilliam Styron
suppliantly adverb

Examples of suppliant in a Sentence

Noun didn't like being in the position of a suppliant, having to ask her parents to help her pay the rent on her apartment Adjective the suppliant thief pleaded for a second chance
Recent Examples on the Web
And as happens with the testimonies of the suppliants at the Asclepieion, the stelae ferry the feelings and names of these distant others across the ages to us. Teju Cole, New York Times, 12 Sep. 2023 Like other Te Deums, the work is both laudatory and suppliant, petitioning the divine for continued mercy. Hannah Edgar,, 21 Aug. 2021 It was thought that Betelgeuse was bigger than the orbit of Jupiter in our Solar System, but recent studies suggest that the red suppliant star is about a third less than that at about 750 the radius of our Sun. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 16 June 2021 William pays price for grabbing The reaction of the male to his suppliants varies. National Geographic, 17 Apr. 2019 Part of the progress, according to Mr. Selee, is a reaction against President Trump’s Mexiphobia, but the underlying influences are long-term and irreversible: Mexico is no longer a feeble suppliant but a potent, necessary partner. Felipe Fernández-Armesto, WSJ, 25 June 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'suppliant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English suppliaunt, suppliant "person making an appeal, petitioner at law," borrowed from Anglo-French, noun derivative from supliant, suppliant, present participle of sopploier, supplier "to bow down, submit, beseech, petition" (continental Old French sopleier), going back to Latin supplicāre "to seek the goodwill (of a person wronged) with peace offerings, supplicate"


borrowed from Anglo-French supliant "humbly submissive" & Middle French suppliant "supplicating," from present participle of supplier "to beseech" — more at suppliant entry 1

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of suppliant was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near suppliant

Cite this Entry

“Suppliant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
sup·​pli·​ant ˈsəp-lē-ənt How to pronounce suppliant (audio)
: one who asks earnestly


2 of 2 adjective
: humbly asking
suppliantly adverb
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