Definition of pliant in English:



  • 1Easily bent.

    ‘pliant willow stems’
    • ‘Most readers will be familiar with the various physical exercises and postures of yoga, the purpose of which is to make the body supple, pliant, and healthy.’
    • ‘The fabrics are soft and pliant, in silk and cashmere blends, while the colors revolve around a strong palette of slate and off-blacks, accented with brights such as yellow and sky blue.’
    • ‘A lazy grin spreading over his sleepy face, Shanza burrowed into the heat happily, nose pressed against something soft and pliant.’
    • ‘From olden times the principle of gentleness has been symbolized by a willow branch or a bamboo, which is pliant and not easily broken.’
    • ‘A different set of lips, soft and pliant, not demanding, rained kisses down his throat, then stopped.’
    • ‘She had missed those soft, full, and pliant lips.’
    • ‘I heard it, felt it, saw it, sensed it - yet I couldn't tell if I were dreaming or if the pliant soft flesh against my lips was real.’
    • ‘This makes the leather soft and pliant, and suitable for such things as clothing.’
    • ‘He took his arms away from her soft, pliant, warm waist, and shivered at the sudden cold, before falling backwards and stumbling off the bed.’
    • ‘Her soft pliant body molded perfectly against him.’
    • ‘Now is the time to try for puppies, while her bones remain pliant for easy delivery and we have more free time now that Grandma no longer needs our presence.’
    • ‘She threw enough flour in the pot for the batter to finally seem doughy, and it began to feel soft and pliant and I could take it out of the mixing pot to knead it.’
    • ‘Whatever halted their ungainly landing recovery, however, was a great deal softer and more pliant than the opposing wall of the tunnel would have been.’
    • ‘At first glance, the powered parachute appears a hermaphroditic aircraft - half loud, thrusting engine, half soft, pliant airfoil.’
    • ‘Her heart, like a girl's upon glimpsing a bride, beat faster at what she saw; a woman with large eyes and long hair down to her waist, her body pliant.’
    • ‘There the pillow would have awaited a weary child, come to nestle his head against its pliant form after a morning swimming at the beach.’
  • 2Easily influenced or directed; yielding.

    ‘a more pliant prime minister’
    • ‘They found a pliant county attorney to bring the charge, which alleged a violation of campaign finance laws based - really - on a ‘thank you’ letter that Ron wrote.’
    • ‘It is because it is a major petroleum producer and they want to get their hands on its resources and install a pliant puppet regime there.’
    • ‘It is reported that a substantial number of enterprises are considering moving their production lines to China and other developing countries because of cheaper labor costs and pliant workers there.’
    • ‘Ironically, domestic workers also opposed the move because they feared that companies would be inclined to employ the cheaper, more pliant and hard-working foreign nationals rather than Koreans.’
    • ‘For more than 40 years, comparing an administration's enemies to Hitler has been a reliable way to convince a pliant media and unquestioning public to go to war.’
    • ‘In this way, we are training our mind to be more pliant and supple.’
    • ‘He thought about Susan's soft and pliant nakedness that one Sunday.’
    • ‘Doesn't this travesty cast into doubt the whole case for combining an empowered president with a pliant court?’
    • ‘At the very least, such policies might produce a larger body of literate, more pliant workers.’
    • ‘Kids further down the show business food chain are more pliant.’
    • ‘The regime reduced the two officially tolerated political parties to pliant ineffectuality.’
    • ‘They put out a simplistic script of ‘good vs evil ‘that was taken up by a pliant and intimidated media.’’
    • ‘Trinity was pliant and soft against him, her body molding to his.’
    • ‘A pliant corporate media proclaimed Harris' testimony proof of his political fortitude.’
    • ‘Sure, maybe I've got a hard shell, but inside I'm soft and pliant like the rest?’
    • ‘Men like this are remarkably pliant when their children are involved.’
    • ‘I remain soft, weak, and pliant, slowly moving between them.’
    • ‘Youth naturally, in their abundance of hormones coupled with a paucity of experience, have a more pliant interest in entertaining various forms of sexual expression.’
    • ‘In other words, while in office these officers are pliant enough, and suddenly, when appointed to ‘independent’ constitutional posts, they begin to assert themselves.’
    • ‘We need leaders who are pliant enough to bend from their unflinching stand on issues, who are ready to sacrifice the short-term goals of their own survival for the greater good of humanity.’
    compliant, biddable, docile, tractable, yielding, malleable, manageable, governable, controllable, amenable, accommodating, susceptible, suggestible, easily influenced, influenceable, persuadable, manipulable, like putty in one's hands, responsive, receptive
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Middle English: from French, literally ‘bending’, present participle of plier.