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


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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
Snuffboxes and miniature portraits were often exchanged between lovers and supplicants. Gaile Robinson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 31 Jan. 2024 The supplicants clustered outside the enormous closed doors. Photographs Todd Heisler, New York Times, 15 Oct. 2023 When the Minnesota Board of Pardons meets, supplicants have 10 minutes to make the case for mercy. Photographs Todd Heisler, New York Times, 15 Oct. 2023 She’s managed to rise at Fox without being a Trump supplicant. Jeremy W. Peters, New York Times, 24 Sep. 2023 In a farmer’s field an hour’s drive outside of Kyiv, a man in combat fatigues kneels in the dust like a supplicant, one arm raised to the heavens, holding a quadcopter on his outstretched palm. WIRED, 25 July 2023 And during his visit, he was schooled on respecting China’s interests and played supplicant to Xi. David Pierson,, 20 June 2023 Placebo effect Besides praying to deities for career success, supplicants are seeking luck in winning the lottery. Laura He, CNN, 9 June 2023 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
For the first time in years, Xi appeared to have successfully positioned the United States as supplicant in the bilateral relationship. Matt Pottinger, Foreign Affairs, 10 Apr. 2024 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

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 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: one who asks earnestly
supplicant adjective
supplicantly adverb
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