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Borrowed from Old French compli, past participle of complir.



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

  1. To yield assent; to accord; agree, or acquiesce; to adapt oneself; to consent or conform.
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      Yet this be sure, in nothing to comply, / Scandalous or forbidden in our law.
    • John Tillotson (1630-1694)
      They did servilely comply with the people in worshiping God by sensible images.
    • 1664?, Samuel Butler, Hudibras
      He that complies against his will / Is of his own opinion still.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 6, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
      But Sophia's mother was not the woman to brook defiance. After a few moments' vain remonstrance her husband complied.
    • 2009, Wikipedia: Cuba:
      The U.S. Congress passed a resolution calling for intervention and President William McKinley was quick to comply.
  2. (archaic) To be ceremoniously courteous; to make one's compliments.
  3. (archaic) To fulfill; to accomplish.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Chapman to this entry?)
  4. (archaic) To enfold; to embrace.
    • Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
      Seemed to comply, / Cloudlike, the daintie deitie.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Usually followed by "with".


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Related terms[edit]