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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 pliable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Slender poles set in the shallow water are held in place by wattling or interlacing of pliable parts.

  • pliable thinks that there may be something in what he says, and offers to go with him.

    Bunyan James Anthony Froude
  • It has too great a tendency to harden the muscles; a swimmer's should be soft and pliable.

    Swimming Scientifically Taught Frank Eugen Dalton and Louis C. Dalton
  • pliable finding the road disagreeable has soon had enough of it.

    Bunyan James Anthony Froude
  • His distinction is the ease with which he plays upon the Hebrew language, not the most pliable of instruments.

  • Linen is less elastic and pliable than cotton and bleaches and dyes readily.

    Textiles William H. Dooley
British Dictionary definitions for pliable


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 pliable

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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