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[plahy-uh-buh l] /ˈplaɪ ə bəl/
easily bent; flexible; supple:
pliable leather.
easily influenced or persuaded; yielding:
the pliable mind of youth.
adjusting readily to change; adaptable.
Origin of pliable
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < French, equivalent to pli(er) to ply2 + -able -able
Related forms
pliability, pliableness, noun
pliably, adverb
nonpliability, noun
nonpliable, adjective
nonpliableness, noun
nonpliably, adverb
unpliable, adjective
unpliableness, noun
unpliably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pliability
Historical Examples
  • It is a pliability of mind which no honourable man requires in conversation, and which he does not approve.

    Talkers John Bate
  • If I fail, recollect that he is not proverbial for pliability.

    Macaria Augusta Jane Evans Wilson
  • There is no magic water, a drop of which will restore to them the vitality and pliability of their youth.

    Mercy Philbrick's Choice Helen Hunt Jackson
  • It was not clever to rest so much on the pliability of a “society lady” with whom she was unacquainted.

    The Arena Various
  • Still “Browne,” with all his pliability, found it a hard matter to please him.

  • The grander the nature the greater its pliability towards truth.

  • Stiffness is the ability to resist bending, and hence is the opposite of pliability or flexibility.

    Wood and Forest William Noyes
  • Beneath her pliability she was now all firmness; the pliability had become a mockery.

    A Far Country, Complete Winston Churchill
  • This substance is undoubtedly designed not only to nourish the hair, but to give it richness and pliability.

    Sheep, Swine, and Poultry Robert Jennings
  • Thousands of other instances might be adduced to show the pliability of the system.

    Popery Edward Hoare
British Dictionary definitions for pliability


easily moulded, bent, influenced, or altered
Derived Forms
pliability, pliableness, noun
pliably, adverb
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 pliability



late 14c., from Old French ploiable "flexible, bendable," from plier "to bend" (see ply (n.)). Related: Pliably, pliability.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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