What does supple mean?

Definitions for supple
ˈsʌp əlsup·ple

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word supple.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. lissome, lissom, lithe, lithesome, slender, supple, svelte, sylphlikeadjective

    moving and bending with ease

  2. limber, suppleadjective

    (used of e.g. personality traits) readily adaptable

    "a supple mind"; "a limber imagination"

  3. limber, suppleverb

    (used of persons' bodies) capable of moving or bending freely

  4. suppleverb

    make pliant and flexible

    "These boots are not yet suppled by frequent use"


  1. suppleverb

    To make or become supple.

  2. suppleadjective

    pliant, easy to bend

  3. suppleadjective

    lithe and agile when moving and bending

  4. suppleadjective

    flexible and compliant

  5. Etymology: From souple, from souple, soupple, from supplex, supplex, of uncertain formation. Either from sub + plico (compare complex), or from sub + placo. More at sub-, placate.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SUPPLEadjective

    Etymology: souple, French.

    The joints are more supple to all seats of activity in youth than afterwards. Francis Bacon.

    Will ye submit your necks, and chuse to bend
    The supple knee? John Milton, Parad. Lost.

    And sometimes went, and sometimes ran
    With supple joints, as lively vigour led. John Milton.

    No women are apter to spin linen well than the Irish, who labouring little in any kind with their hands, have their fingers more supple and soft than other women of the poorer condition in England. William Temple.

    When we’ve stuff’d
    These pipes and these conveyances of blood
    With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
    Than in our priestlike fasts. William Shakespeare.

    Ev’n softer than thy own, of suppler kind,
    More exquisite of taste, and more than man refin’d. Dryden.

    If punishment reaches not the mind, and makes not the will supple, it hardens the offender. John Locke.

    There is something so supple and insinuating in this absurd unnatural doctrine, as makes it extremely agreeable to a prince’s ear. Addison.

    Each part depriv’d of supple government,
    Shall stiff, and stark, and cold appear, like death. William Shakespeare.

  2. To Suppleverb

    Etymology: from the adjective.

    Poultices allaying pain, drew down the humours, and suppled the parts, thereby making the passages wider. William Temple.

    To supple a carcass, drench it in water. Arbuthnot.

    Knaves having by their own importunate suit,
    Convinc’d or suppl’d them, they cannot chuse,
    But they must blab. William Shakespeare, Othello.

    A mother persisting till she had bent her daughter’s mind, and suppled her will, the only end of correction, she established her authority thoroughly ever after. John Locke, on Education.

  3. To Suppleverb

    To grow soft; to grow pliant.

    The stones
    Did first the rigour of their kind expel,
    And suppled into softness as they fell. Dryden.


  1. Supple

    Supple is a surname.


  1. supple

    Supple refers to something that is flexible, soft, and easily bends or adjusts without breaking or becoming damaged. It can describe a physical attribute, such as supple skin or leather, or it can describe mental or emotional adaptability, like a supple mind able to change perspective easily.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Suppleadjective

    pliant; flexible; easily bent; as, supple joints; supple fingers

  2. Suppleadjective

    yielding compliant; not obstinate; submissive to guidance; as, a supple horse

  3. Suppleadjective

    bending to the humor of others; flattering; fawning; obsequious

  4. Suppleverb

    to make soft and pliant; to render flexible; as, to supple leather

  5. Suppleverb

    to make compliant, submissive, or obedient

  6. Suppleverb

    to become soft and pliant

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Supple

    sup′l, adj. pliant: lithe: yielding to the humour of others: fawning.—v.t. to make supple: to make soft or compliant.—v.i. to become supple.—n. Supp′leness.—adj. Supp′le-sin′ewed, having supple sinews: lithe.—Supple Jack (U.S.), one of various climbing-shrubs with strong stems: a pliant cane. [Fr. souple—L. supplex, bending the knees—sub, under, plicāre, to fold.]

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Supple is ranked #25102 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Supple surname appeared 989 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Supple.

    95.6% or 946 total occurrences were White.
    1.9% or 19 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.2% or 12 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1% or 10 total occurrences were Asian.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce supple?

How to say supple in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of supple in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of supple in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of supple in a Sentence

  1. Hannah Baxter:

    Bathing Culture is my go-to for a delicious, certified organic, biodegradable body wash that smells divine and leaves my skin supple and smooth, i stock up on the gallon jug about every nine months or so to refill my glass pump bottle, which is way more convenient than forgetting to order body wash at the last minute and panic buying something random from a bodega.

  2. Robert Ford:

    This is a regime that is very supple politically. They’re very smart.

  3. Frank Straus Meyer:

    The ideal type of the Communist is a man in whom all individual, emotional, and unconscious elements have been reduced to a minimum and subjected to the control of an iron will, informed by a supple intellect. That intellect is totally at the service of a single and compelling idea, made incarnate in the Communist Party: the concept of History as an inexorable god whose ways are revealed ‘scientifically’ through the doctrine and method of Marxism-Leninism.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for supple

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"supple." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/supple>.

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    a decorative musical accompaniment (often improvised) added above a basic melody
    A abrade
    B exacerbate
    C flub
    D descant

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