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[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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for complying
  • But we'll be dragged kicking and screaming into complying with reality.
  • The necessity of complying with times, and of sparing persons, is the great impediment of biography.
  • Ships not complying would be intercepted and might be sunk.
  • complying with policies is too onerous for many small operators.
  • The paperwork to prove that they were complying with city, state, and federal regulations became a mountain.
  • If travellers believed that complying with the new arrangements really would make their lives easier, they would probably do so.
  • And paint manufacturers are creating their own green labels instead of complying with regulations.
  • The railways are seeking tax breaks and other subsidies to reduce the cost of complying.
  • Companies are put through many more hoops in order to show that they are complying with the law.
  • It also meant eight trips each to be tested on whether they were complying with court-ordered bans on drinking alcohol.
British Dictionary definitions for complying


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 complying



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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