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supple

[suhp-uh l] /ˈsʌp əl/
adjective, suppler, supplest.
1.
bending readily without breaking or becoming deformed; pliant; flexible:
a supple bough.
2.
characterized by ease in bending; limber; lithe:
supple movements.
3.
characterized by ease, responsiveness, and adaptability in mental action.
4.
compliant or yielding.
5.
obsequious; servile.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), suppled, suppling.
6.
to make or become supple.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; (adj.) Middle English souple flexible, compliant < Old French: soft, yielding, lithe < Latin supplic- (stem of supplex) submissive, suppliant, equivalent to sup- sup- + -plic-, variously explained as akin to plicāre to fold1, bend (thus meaning “bent over”; cf. complex), or to plācāre to placate (thus meaning “in the attitude of a suppliant”); (v.) Middle English supplen to soften, derivative of the noun (compare Old French asoplir)
Related forms
suppleness, noun
unsupple, adjective
unsuppleness, noun
unsupply, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for suppleness
  • suppleness implies a flexibility and moldability but not a change in the basic nature of the underlying structure.
  • And my skin cleared up and took on an eerie, youthful suppleness.
  • Adoula showed suppleness but also determination and strength.
  • Nor was his intellectual rigidity, coupled as it was with an adroit suppleness, a particularly attractive trait.
  • It costs too much to maintain, and the payment is not made in money but in suppleness of thought.
  • Its physiological benefits include improved fitness, better circulation, suppleness and correction of postural alignment.
  • The aim of yoga is to improve suppleness and strength.
British Dictionary definitions for suppleness

supple

/ˈsʌpəl/
adjective
1.
bending easily without damage
2.
capable of or showing easy or graceful movement; lithe
3.
mentally flexible; responding readily
4.
disposed to agree, sometimes to the point of servility
verb
5.
(rare) to make or become supple
Derived Forms
suppleness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French souple, from Latin supplex bowed
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 suppleness

supple

adj.

c.1300, from Old French souple "pliant, flexible," from Gallo-Romance *supples, from Latin supplex (genitive supplicis) "submissive, humbly begging," literally "bending, kneeling down," thought to be an altered form of *supplacos "humbly pleading, appeasing," from sub "under" + placare "appease" (see placate).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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