comply

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Italian complire, Catalan complir (to complete, fulfil; to carry out), Spanish cumplir (to complete, fulfil), from Latin complēre,[1] from compleō (to finish, complete; to fulfil), from com- (prefix indicating completeness of an act) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ḱóm (beside, near; by, with)) + pleō (to fill; to fulfil) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *pleh₁- (to fill)). The word is cognate with Old French complir (to accomplish, complete; to do) (modern French accomplir (to accomplish, achieve)). Compare complete, compliment.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

comply (third-person singular simple present complies, present participle complying, simple past and past participle complied)

  1. To yield assent; to accord; to acquiesce, agree, consent; to adapt oneself, to conform.
  2. (archaic) To accomplish, to fulfil. [from late 16th c.]
    • 1654, attributed to George Chapman; now believed to be by Henry Glaptorne, Revenge for Honour. A Tragedie, London, OCLC 838634582; republished London: Printed for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at his shop, at the Prince's Arms in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1659, OCLC 838949769, Act II, scene i, page 22:
      Gentle Abrahen, I / am griev'd my power cannot comply my promiſe: / my Father's ſo averſe from granting my / requeſt concerning thee, that with angrie frowns / he did expreſs rather a paſſionate rage, / then a refuſall civil, or accuſtom'd / to his indulgent diſpoſition.
  3. (archaic) To be ceremoniously courteous; to make one's compliments.
  4. (archaic) To enfold; to embrace.
    • 1648, Robert Herrick, “Oberon’s Palace”, in Hesperides: Or, The Works both Humane & Divine of Robert Herrick Esq., London: Printed for John Williams, and Francis Eglesfield, and are to be sold by Tho[mas] Hunt, Book-seller in Exon., OCLC 270794850; republished in The Works of Robert Herrick, volume I, Edinburgh: Reprinted for W[illiam] and C[harles] Tait, 1823, OCLC 2946935, page 234:
      And then a rug of carded wooll, / Which, spunge-like, drinking in the dull / Light of the moon, seem'd to comply, / Cloud-like, the daintie deitie.

Usage notes[edit]

The word is usually followed by with.

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