9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[plahy-uh nt] /ˈplaɪ ənt/
bending readily; flexible; supple; adaptable:
She manipulated the pliant clay.
easily influenced; yielding to others; compliant:
He has a pliant nature.
Origin of pliant
1300-50; Middle English < Old French, present participle of plier to ply2; see -ant
Related forms
pliancy, pliantness, noun
pliantly, adverb
nonpliancy, noun
nonpliant, adjective
nonpliantly, adverb
nonpliantness, noun
unpliancy, noun
unpliant, adjective
unpliantly, adverb
unpliantness, noun
1, 2. pliable, flexile. See flexible. 2. manageable, tractable, docile. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pliant
  • Caulk and glazing that remains pliant or that has hardened but can not be crumbled by hand pressure is considered non-friable.
  • Under the magic of many skillful hands the pliant boughs are soon tied and twisted into a thousand devices.
  • Shiny vinyls are supple and pliant.
  • Just as they are flexible in the tasks they perform on the job, workers have to be pliant when it comes to their shifts.
  • The wires were so light and pliant that I could hardly feel the neatly braided rig-up on my head.
  • Once applied, coatings stay firm on top, but pliant under the protective aluminum surface.
  • No pliant courtiers bending round a throne.
  • One good recipe: Mix equal parts of flour and cornmeal in enough water to make a pliant dough.
  • If they came for him, they wouldn't find him pliant.
  • Boosting mashed potatoes with distinctive flavors or using their pliant texture to enhance other foods is common in many cuisines.
British Dictionary definitions for pliant


easily bent; supple: a pliant young tree
easily modified; adaptable; flexible: a pliant system
yielding readily to influence; compliant
Derived Forms
pliancy, pliantness, noun
pliantly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from plier to fold, bend; see ply²
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 pliant

late 14c., from Old French ploiant "bending, supple; compliant, fickle," as a noun, "turncoat" (13c.), present participle of ploier "to bend" (see ply (n.)). Figurative sense of "easily influenced" is from c.1400. Related: Pliancy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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