The Meaning of Compliant: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of compliant? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word compliant, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word compliant mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word compliant is an adjective that means obedient, or willing to do what is asked of them. If someone has a compliant nature, they might follow a specified body of rules in a submissive way. Certain companies must be compliant with emissions regulations or other standards for public health reasons. Sometimes even if someone feels discomfort, they remain compliant. Compliant has three syllables – com-pli-ant, and the pronunciation of compliant is kəmplaɪənt.

Many different languages also use words that mean compliant. You may notice that some of these words look similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are often formed when two words have the same origin or root language. This list of translations of compliant is provided by Word Sense.

  •  French: docile‎, obéissant‎, accommodant‎, conforme
  •  Indonesian: patuh‎
  •  Scots: bowsome‎
  •  Italian: conforme‎ (masc.)
  •  Polish: zgodny‎
  •  Romanian: cooperant‎, maleabil‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: buigzaam‎, medewerkend‎, onderdanig‎
  •  Portuguese: cooperante‎
  •  Finnish: myöntyväinen‎, suostuvainen‎; ei tehnyt vastarintaa‎ (was compliant)
  •  Spanish: sumiso‎ (masc.), complaciente‎
  •  Turkish: itaatkâr‎, uysal‎
  •  German: entgegenkommend‎, fügsam‎, gefällig‎, gefügig‎, nachgiebig‎
  •  Bulgarian: отстъпчив‎

How can the word compliant be used in a sentence?

The word compliant can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to incorporate words into your vocabulary. You can also try making flashcards or quizzes to test your knowledge! Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. Below are several examples of compliant to get you started!

The compliant little girl had an ingrained discipline to her, but she also had anxiety proneness. She had the level of fitness of a dancer that met the national standard, but her mind went blank whenever it came to remembering choreography. She got so nervous that she would nearly faint in front of the other dancers.

The woman filed a complaint about access to the workplace. She knew that the same was not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and she was suspect about the company actually changing it.

The company had to make sure their new exhaust systems and components were compliant with the state emissions standards and international standards for anti-pollution regulations. They kept track of materials and the levels of nitrate, nitrite and ammonium that seeped out to make sure they met the water standards and protected the bays, freshwater site and other public water supplies.

The man at the conference asked skeptical questions of the speaker out of spite. When security escorted him out, his non-compliant behavior forced them to tase him to submission. As a bonus, he was banned from all other events.

They had to make sure that the supply chain was compliant with both the national budgets, rules of the stability pact, and technical rules. They also had to make sure they met each parameter with flying colors to receive a seal of approval.

The average client was fairly compliant with the business standards, but the one who came in to council yesterday stayed for longer periods than normal and reeked of an odour that stunk up the whole office. 

What are synonyms and antonyms of compliant?

There are many different words and phrases that a person can use in place of the word compliant. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as a given term. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your vocabulary and avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms of compliant is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  reverential
  •  obedient
  •  submissive
  •  in one’s pocket
  •  docile
  •  yielding
  •  in one’s clutches
  •  resigned
  •  devoted
  •  obeisant
  •  tractable
  •  manageable
  •  willing
  •  complaisant
  •  regardful
  •  flexible
  •  on a string
  •  pliant
  •  attentive
  •  sheeplike
  •  under control
  •  amenable
  •  in one’s power
  •  obliging
  •  governable
  •  duteous
  •  loyal
  •  respectful
  •  well-trained
  •  acquiescent
  •  meek
  •  controllable
  •  observant
  •  dutiful
  •  biddable
  •  tame
  •  subservient
  •  honoring
  •  deferential
  •  faithful
  •  docious
  •  venerating
  •  law-abiding
  •  wrapped around finger
  •  at one’s beck and call
  •  easy

There are also numerous different words and phrases that have the opposite meaning of compliant. These opposite words are called antonyms. Learning antonyms is another great way to expand your knowledge of the English language. This list of antonyms is also provided by Thesaurus.

  •  treasonable
  •  rebellious
  •  riotous
  •  mutinous
  •  contumacious
  •  warring
  •  insurgent
  •  anarchistic
  •  disobedient
  •  refractory
  •  insurrectionary
  •  turbulent
  •  factious
  •  individualistic
  •  obstinate
  •  seditious
  •  difficult
  •  unmanageable
  •  radical
  •  recalcitrant
  •  ungovernable
  •  disloyal
  •  disaffected
  •  resistant
  •  fractious
  •  iconoclastic
  •  sabotaging
  •  dissident
  •  threatening
  •  noncompliant
  •  quarrelsome
  •  defiant
  •  revolutionary
  •  restless
  •  pugnacious
  •  disobedient
  •  rebel
  •  attacking
  •  disorderly
  •  rioting
  •  incorrigible
  •  alienated
  •  intractable
  •  bellicose
  •  unruly

What is the origin of the word compliant?

According to Etymonline, the word compliant has been used since the 1640s and comes from the Middle english verb comply. This word has been used since early 14c as a transitive verb meaning to carry out or fulfill. This comes from the Old French compli, the past participle of complir meaning to accomplish or carry out. This comes from the Vulgar Latin complire and Latin complere meaning to fill up, and used figuratively to mean to finish or fulfill a task. This comes from the prefix com and the root plere meaning to full. It has been used to mean to consent or act in accordance with since 1600. One can add different suffixes to form the related words compliance (n.) using ance or ly to make comply (v.)

Overall, the word compliant means willing to be obedient and follow rules. This word is of Latin origin. 


  1. COMPLIANT Synonyms: 14 Synonyms & Antonyms for COMPLIANT | Thesaurus 
  2. REBELLIOUS Synonyms: 46 Synonyms & Antonyms for REBELLIOUS 
  3. compliant: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  4. compliant | Origin and meaning of compliant | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Compliant definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary