Meaning of pliant


The adjective pliant describes something that is capable of being bent. “The teenager showed off her pliant spine every time she draped herself over a piece of furniture. Why hanging upside down off the sofa didn’t give her a headache, her mother would never know.”

Pliant has both a literal and a figurative meaning. Pliant can describe something that is bendable — like a spine, a tree branch, a bendy straw — or it can describe something that is flexible, but less tangible. In this latter sense, pliant describes something that adjusts to conditions or is easily influenced: “In order to survive the recession, the company had to be pliant and adjust to the new economic conditions.”

Definitions of pliant
  1. adjective

    capable of being shaped or bent or drawn out

    pliant molten glass”

    ductile, malleable, pliable, tensile, tractile


    having or given a form or shape
  2. adjective

    capable of being bent or flexed or twisted without breaking

    pliant young tree”

    bendable, pliable, waxy

    flexible, flexile

    able to flex; able to bend easily
  3. adjective

    able to adjust readily to different conditions


    elastic, flexible, pliable


    capable of adapting (of becoming or being made suitable) to a particular situation or use
  4. adjective

    capable of being influenced or formed

    pliant nature”


    impressible, impressionable, waxy

    easily impressed or influenced

Word Family

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