9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kuh m-plahy] /kəmˈplaɪ/
verb (used without object), complied, complying.
to act or be in accordance with wishes, requests, demands, requirements, conditions, etc.; agree (sometimes followed by with):
They asked him to leave and he complied. She has complied with the requirements.
Obsolete. to be courteous or conciliatory.
Origin of comply
1595-1605; < Italian complire < Spanish cumplir (see compliment) to fulfill, accomplish < Latin complēre, equivalent to com- com- + plē- fill + -re infinitive suffix
Related forms
uncomplying, adjective
1. acquiesce, yield, conform, obey, consent, assent.
1. refuse, resist. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for comply
  • The possibility of losing ownership rights, they argue, is enough incentive for fishers to comply with the responsible behavior.
  • They were designed that way to comply with federal regulations for headlight height.
  • Failure to comply will result in payment being withheld.
  • Before disposing of a questionable product, contact your municipality to make sure you fully comply with state and federal laws.
  • Boundaries are so important, and dogs are happy to comply.
  • Free womanhood, out of the depths of its rich experiences, will observe and comply with the inner demands of its being.
  • Accordingly, the whole community changed their former resolution, and were determined never to comply.
  • The saint answered him, that the state of life in which he was engaged rendered it impossible for him to comply with his desire.
  • But they obstinately refused to comply with his desires.
  • It also would comply with regulations about the transfer and storage of private medical information.
British Dictionary definitions for comply


verb (intransitive) -plies, -plying, -plied
(usually foll by with) to act in accordance with rules, wishes, etc; be obedient (to)
(obsolete) to be obedient or complaisant
Derived Forms
complier, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Italian complire, from Spanish cumplir to complete; see compliment
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for comply

early 14c., "to fulfill, carry out," from Old French compli, past participle of complir "to accomplish, fulfill, carry out," from Vulgar Latin *complire, from Latin complere "to fill up" (see complete (adj.)). Meaning influenced by ply (v.2). Sense of "to consent" began c.1600 and might have been a reintroduction from Italian, where complire had come to mean "satisfy by 'filling up' the forms of courtesy."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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