Definition of supple in English:

supple

adjectivesuppler, supplest

  • 1Bending and moving easily and gracefully; flexible.

    ‘her supple fingers’
    ‘my mind is becoming more supple’
    • ‘As if love were in his fingertips, he guides her in pirouettes and protects her supple back from bending too far.’
    • ‘Much credit must be given to Iago's diabolical prowess which enables him to bend and twist the supple minds of his friends and spouse.’
    • ‘Her graceful limbs were supple and filled with strength - she reminded him of an African gazelle.’
    • ‘It's a supple, elastically acrobatic form of dance, an Afro-Brazilian fusion developed over hundreds of years in both regions.’
    • ‘In the applied arts, which were the style's first and most characteristic manifestation, Rococo designers were concerned with colourfully fragile decoration, supple curves, anti-architectonic forms, and spirited elegance.’
    • ‘Pulling together: the roof of this little boathouse is derived from the repetition and rotation of a basic truss to form a supple curve that echoes the elegant dynamism of rowing’
    • ‘His first-time-out direction is imaginative and breathtakingly supple, the work of a greenhorn unsaddled by convention or limitation and able to tell a story in the precise terms forged by hundreds of live performances.’
    • ‘Her first company, a group of smart, supple women, did a series of little pieces in the early 1970s where they essentially created group choreography in performance.’
    • ‘I find his poems endlessly approachable, wonderfully communicative and perfectly inexhaustible: stately, supple, personal and resourceful.’
    • ‘There is no shortage of sophisticated thinking, but the prose that delivers it is vigorous, endlessly supple and engaging everyday English.’
    • ‘His baritone was strong and supple but never forced.’
    • ‘Her voice is the very backbone - a one-inch punch to the ears that leaves the music having to work around her supple timbre and edgily fluidic warble.’
    • ‘He has written incisive lyrics, narratives, meditations and satires in verse that is both commanding and supple.’
    • ‘His hand was as firm and supple as ever, the late drawings an ever-more assured symphony of fine lines.’
    • ‘It adapts her supple camera style and keen editing eye to an amazing subject.’
    • ‘The supple pop-reggae beats remain intact, but the message has changed.’
    • ‘Venetian art is so supple, sensual, lavish with colour: and so anarchic with the rules of genre.’
    • ‘Handsome, supple and fluid down to his fingertips, this zesty company newcomer is a real find.’
    • ‘In other instances, the need for smooth, supple legato is apparent; subtle variations of touches need to be used to ensure effective voicing and projection of the main line over relatively thick or busy accompanimental textures.’
    • ‘The regular practice of certain postures and breathing exercises, make the body strong, supple and more healthy.’
    lithe, limber, nimble, lissom, flexible, loose-limbed, loose-jointed, agile, acrobatic, fit, deft, willowy, graceful, elegant
    pliant, pliable, flexible, soft, bendable, workable, malleable, stretchy, stretchable, elastic, springy, yielding, rubbery, plastic, resilient
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Not stiff or hard; easily manipulated.
      ‘this body oil leaves your skin feeling deliciously supple’
      • ‘Fullers were responsible for working raw and stiff cloth until it was supple enough to be used in making garments and other products.’
      • ‘I could never bring myself to pierce my supple skin with a dirty great syringe, however I don't see any reason why the crusty hippies who do should be thrown into jail.’
      • ‘Well, you should have regular pedicures and use creams and powders on your feet to keep the skin supple and prevent infection and odour.’

verb

[with object]
  • Make more flexible.

    ‘I was also able to concentrate on bending and suppling him laterally.’
    ‘Instead, by slowly introducing the concepts of suppling and yielding to rein and bit pressure, even the hard mouthed horse eventually becomes an enjoyable horse to ride.’

Origin

Middle English from Old French souple, from Latin supplex, supplic- ‘submissive’, from sub- ‘under’ + placere ‘propitiate’.

Pronunciation

supple

/ˈsʌp(ə)l/