Definition of comply in US English:


verbcomplied, complies, complying

[no object]
  • 1(of a person or group) act in accordance with a wish or command.

    ‘we are unable to comply with your request’
    • ‘The university has since claimed that it is unable to comply with the government request.’
    • ‘The staff were clear that they were not going to comply with his request.’
    • ‘They are expected to be obedient and comply with requests from adults immediately.’
    • ‘I am a firm believer that relatives should try to comply with the wishes of their loved ones.’
    • ‘Passengers that refuse to comply with a request to disembark could face action from the airline.’
    • ‘Her family visited their cousin only in the winters, and complying with her wishes, I did not dare to follow her once she had left.’
    • ‘Some of the reporters thought this was odd, and they didn't want to comply with his request.’
    • ‘The government did not comply with the protestors' wishes in either case.’
    • ‘The first to comply with their request will be awarded one of the numerous attractive spot prizes.’
    • ‘He also pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a notice requesting the removal of the waste within the specified time.’
    • ‘Why would people comply with requests made to them, when they can say they will not give evidence?’
    • ‘One theory is that she may have refused to comply with his wishes, adding to his frustration.’
    • ‘All they need do to escape it is to comply with and respect the law by reducing their speed.’
    • ‘If you are unable to comply with the notice by the above date then you should inform me of the reasons in writing as soon as possible.’
    • ‘Each group must argue their case and each must try to persuade the other to comply with its wishes.’
    • ‘The men claim they were not obliged to comply with requests that had not been lawfully issued following a board meeting.’
    • ‘I will take your failure to comply with this reasonable request as a refusal.’
    • ‘Please provide us with your prompt written assurance that you will comply with this request.’
    • ‘High risk clients were likely to attend the clinic on impulse but were unlikely to comply with a request for a repeat test.’
    • ‘Half an hour later I managed to force my eyes open to comply with his request.’
    abide by, act in accordance with, observe, obey, adhere to, conform to, follow, respect
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of an article) meet specified standards.
      ‘all secondhand furniture must comply with the new standards’
      • ‘The majority of stock breeding companies are not complying with the regulations to control the disease.’
      • ‘Since 1990 all pressing centres have had to comply with certain minimum standards.’
      • ‘In train stations, bus stations, seaports and airports, smoking is permitted in premises complying with Article 5.’
      • ‘The German automatic water purification equipment guarantees that the brewing water complies with European standards.’
      • ‘It must also comply with the local council's standards and charge no more than the local council normally pays.’
      • ‘The 81-year-old locomotive needs a complete overhaul every six to seven years to ensure it complies with modern safety standards.’
      • ‘The OFT also found evidence that some companies were not complying with some consumer regulations.’
      • ‘Assumption is made that the Camp Health Center complies with all accreditation standards for the camp jurisdiction.’
      • ‘All equipment meets the CE regulations and complies with European standards.’
      • ‘The companies would have to comply with training standards and safety procedures.’
      • ‘The development complies with the privacy standards.’
      • ‘The investigation that follows must comply with minimum human rights standards.’
      • ‘Nor does their browser comply with half of the standards it runs by.’
      • ‘The shipments must comply with welfare standards that have been developed by the ministry.’
      • ‘The school's administration section has complied fully with the requirement of the Information Act.’
      • ‘It is possible to get drinking water supplies tested to make sure they comply with EC standards.’
      • ‘The Canadian government claims the company was not complying with proper environmental rules on disposal.’
      • ‘He had come to the conclusion that this condition did not comply with that standard.’
      • ‘The design of these vessels will be to the latest standards, and will comply with all relevant marine design codes.’
      • ‘Trading standards are now happy that the sausages comply with the more flexible regulations.’
      comply with, meet, fulfil, answer, conform to
      View synonyms


Late 16th century: from Italian complire, Catalan complir, Spanish cumplir, from Latin complere ‘fill up, fulfill’ (see complete). The original sense was ‘fulfill, accomplish’, later ‘fulfill the requirements of courtesy’, hence ‘to be agreeable, to oblige or obey’. Compare with compliment.