From Middle English souple, from Old French souple, soupple (“soft, lithe, yielding”), from Latin supplic-, supplex (“suppliant, submissive, kneeling”), of uncertain formation. Either from sub + plicō (“bend”) (compare complex), or from sub + plācō (“placate”). More at sub-, placate.
- pliant, flexible, easy to bend
- lithe and agile when moving and bending
- supple joints; supple fingers
- compliant; yielding to the will of others
- a supple horse
- (transitive, intransitive) To make or become supple.
- (transitive) To make compliant, submissive, or obedient.
- 1693, [John Locke], “§78”, in Some Thoughts Concerning Education, London: […] A[wnsham] and J[ohn] Churchill, […], OCLC 1161614482:
- a mother persisting till she had bent her daughter's mind and suppled her will
- (Can we date this quote by Isaac Barrow and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?), Of contentment, patience and resignation to the will of God
- They should supple our stiff wilfulness.