sup·​pli·​cant | \ ˈsə-pli-kənt How to pronounce supplicant (audio) \

Definition of supplicant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one who supplicates



Definition of supplicant (Entry 2 of 2)

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Examples of supplicant in a Sentence

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: Noun The next day should be spent visiting the Corycian Cave, an obligatory stop for ancient supplicants after encountering the Oracle. Liz Alderman, New York Times, "Voyage to the Center of the World," 9 July 2019 The wealth accumulated by William Andrews Clark had always attracted supplicants, but the hospital's executives, doctors, and nurses would mount a full-scale 20-year campaign to persuade Huguette to hand over large chunks of her copper inheritance. Meryl Gordon, Town & Country, "The Curious Life and Shocking Death of Huguette Clark," 21 May 2014 As grain prices increased, the parishes became overwhelmed with supplicants. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "Who Really Stands to Win from Universal Basic Income?," 24 Mar. 2014 It’s of a piece with government business being conducted on Trump’s golf courses and presidential supplicants trying to curry favor by using the services of Trump hotels. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Has Trump turned Air Force One into a perk for Mar-a-Lago members?," 9 July 2018 Few supplicants [patients] in the temple are well enough to do anything but lie on their hard beds. Gabriel Winant, The New Republic, "Barbara Ehrenreich’s radical critique of wellness and self-improvement," 23 May 2018 The supplicants had come (85 of them, all told) to call upon said Pope, Mike Francesa, who was hosting his penultimate WFAN radio show, This is Your Life-style, from a theater at the Paley Center for Media, the former Museum of Broadcasting. Jack Dickey,, "Mike Francesa Bids Farewell to WFAN, Sports Talk Radio in Fitting Fashion," 15 Dec. 2017 A group of supplicants all desperately trying to hold on to their spots on the show by effusively praising Trump -- each one trying to take it a step further than the last. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Leftward lurch in Democratic gubernatorial primary reflects the transformation of Virginia," 13 June 2017 Snuffboxes and miniature portraits were often exchanged between lovers and supplicants. Gaile Robinson, star-telegram, "Kimbell’s ‘Casanova’ follows the seducer’s trail through Europe – adult-only art and all," 30 Aug. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Peled was superb in the role of supplicant, with full-bodied tone and a wide range of tonal colors. cleveland, "CityMusic Cleveland flourishes on first program with new director Amit Peled," 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, "Protests Erupt in Hong Kong, Overshadowing China’s National Day Parade," 1 Oct. 2019 George and William used to be equals—now George is a supplicant. Willing Davidson, The New Yorker, "Emma Cline on the Movie Business," 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, "Trump and Putin have a rendez-vous in Helsinki.," 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, "Trump's NRA speech comes with an eye to 2018," 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, "The Original Donald Trump," 29 Apr. 2018 One said the European Commission appeared to be trying to annex Northern Ireland and turn it into a supplicant state., "Brexit Talks in Peril After May Rejects EU Draft Deal," 28 Feb. 2018 After the wonders of the cathedral itself, guests were invited to wander into the sacristy where supplicant figures were dressed in examples from its treasury of exquisite 18th century copes embroidered in real gold and silver thread. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Vogue’s Hamish Bowles on His Molto Alta Weekend in Palermo With Dolce & Gabbana," 11 July 2017

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


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1577, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for supplicant

Last Updated

2 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for supplicant

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

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More Definitions for supplicant


How to pronounce supplicant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of supplicant

formal : a person who asks for something in a respectful way from a powerful person or God

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Comments on supplicant

What made you want to look up supplicant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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