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sup·​pli·​cant ˈsə-pli-kənt How to pronounce supplicant (audio)
: one who supplicates


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Example Sentences

Noun the new governor soon had to deal with a long line of supplicants asking for jobs and other political favors Adjective hated having to go before his boss like a supplicant beggar whenever he needed some time off to attend to personal matters
Recent Examples on the Web
Where their paws fell, a new mythology; where their whiskers touched, a new breed of supplicants. Hanya Yanagihara Kyoko Hamada, New York Times, 10 May 2023 Instead, Christie ended up a supplicant, slaving for Trump’s transition team before finally getting murked by a Jared Kushner bent on settling family business. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, 29 Apr. 2023 All these words strike me as vaguely offensive except for mendicant and supplicant. Stephen Miller, WSJ, 11 Oct. 2021 The fierce competition for juicy jobs places each separate firm in the position of supplicant, service provider, and client pleaser. Curbed, 17 Mar. 2022 This is why the wizard acts as an exorcist, never a supplicant, King explained. Kent Russell, Harper’s Magazine , 25 May 2022 But both mendicant and supplicant have a religious connotation. Stephen Miller, WSJ, 11 Oct. 2021 In Afghanistan, America is necessarily a supplicant now. Joel Mathis, The Week, 24 Aug. 2021 Synonyms for beggar include hobo, pauper, tramp, vagrant, derelict, mendicant, bum, supplicant, deadbeat, borrower. Stephen Miller, WSJ, 11 Oct. 2021
Speakers seemed alternately angry and supplicant, aware, at some level, their efforts probably won’t work. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 July 2021 For the Kremlin, the shipment was a propaganda coup: the latest chance to show Mr. Putin’s nation and the globe that the days of Russia as a supplicant on the world stage were long gone. Anton Troianovski, New York Times, 2 Apr. 2020 Peled was superb in the role of supplicant, with full-bodied tone and a wide range of tonal colors. cleveland, 21 Oct. 2019 Her critics in Hong Kong derided her smiling presence in Beijing as that of a supplicant, not an autonomous leader, which illustrated the depth of the chasm between the two sides. Chris Buckley, New York Times, 1 Oct. 2019 George and William used to be equals—now George is a supplicant. Willing Davidson, The New Yorker, 24 June 2019 The 1990 and 1997 summits both took place at the peak of American triumph, when the Russian state was very much a supplicant to the world’s only superpower. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, 27 June 2018 This time, Trump is more of a supplicant, needing vigorous turnout from pro-gun voters to offset what many Republicans fear could be a midterm election disaster in November. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 4 May 2018 Once Trump took office, Roth would remain a visible supplicant, appearing with the president at a public event in Ohio to lend credence to his bogus infrastructure initiative. Frank Rich, Daily Intelligencer, 29 Apr. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'supplicant.' 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, borrowed from Medieval Latin supplicant-, supplicans "petitioner," noun derivative from Latin supplicant-, supplicans, present participle of supplicāre "to seek the goodwill (of a person wronged) with peace offerings, supplicate"


borrowed from Latin supplicant-, supplicans, present participle of supplicāre "to seek the goodwill (of a person wronged) with peace offerings, supplicate"

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1577, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near supplicant

Cite this Entry

“Supplicant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


: one who asks earnestly
supplicant adjective
supplicantly adverb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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