Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective supple contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of supple are elastic, flexible, resilient, and springy. While all these words mean "able to endure strain without being permanently injured," supple applies to something that can be readily bent, twisted, or folded without any sign of injury.

supple leather

When is elastic a more appropriate choice than supple?

The words elastic and supple are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, elastic implies the property of resisting deformation by stretching.

an elastic waistband

When is it sensible to use flexible instead of supple?

While the synonyms flexible and supple are close in meaning, 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

Where would resilient be a reasonable alternative to supple?

While in some cases nearly identical to supple, resilient implies the ability to recover shape quickly when the deforming force or pressure is removed.

a resilient innersole

When can springy be used instead of supple?

The meanings of springy and supple largely overlap; however, 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

Thesaurus Entries Near supple

Cite this Entry

“Supple.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on supple

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!