1. Easily bent or flexed; pliable. See Synonyms at malleable.
2. Easily altered or modified to fit conditions; adaptable: a pliant poetic form.
3. Yielding readily to influence or domination; compliant: a pliant colonial regime.
[Middle English, from Old French, present participle of plier, to fold, bend, from Latin plicāre; see plek- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
plian·cy, pliant·ness n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.