Advanced and Proficiency Vocabulary for Exams(e.g.GRE, Banks, Civil Services, SAT / LSAT). For IELTS/TOEFL, and everyday spoken vocabulary, go to our Spoken Vocabulary Database.
The word ‘pliant’ can be used both literally and figuratively. In a literal sense, it describes something that is soft, yielding, and able to be moved or shaped with ease, like rubber, for example. In a figurative and more commonly used sense, the term refers to somebody who is easily influenced or controlled by others. It is entirely interchangeable with the synonym ‘pliable’. To be ‘pliable’ can mean two things. Literally, it describes something that is able to be bent freely or repeatedly without breaking or cracking. In a figurative sense, it refers to a person who can be easily controlled or influenced and is not willing to stand up for themselves. In that context, the word has negative connotations.
I prefer employees not to be too pliant. Hearing differing opinions is important when it comes to making key decisions.
The only reason Gary was picked for the role is because he’s pliable. The boss knows he can get him to do what he wants.
The politician rose to power by using her oratory skills to manipulate a pliable public into believing her lofty rhetoric.