Definition of suppliant in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsəplēənt/


A person making a humble plea to someone in power or authority.
Example sentences
  • Inside the temple is a well that is believed to have the power to bring good luck and prosperity to suppliants.
  • Without such living arrangements it would not have been possible for thousands of Messenians to hold out as suppliants in the sanctuary of Zeus on Ithome in the 460s BC until they finally obtained safe conduct to their new home at Naupactus.
  • Unable to pay their fines despite their great wealth, they were presumably stripped of their ordinary legal protections as citizens, but as suppliants in a temple they were under the protection of the gods.
petitioner, supplicant, pleader, beggar, applicant


Making or expressing a plea, especially to someone in power or authority: their faces were suppliant
More example sentences
  • The suitors, for good measure, also violate the code associated with feasting in other ways - by mistreating the servants in Odysseus's palace, and by their churlish treatment of Odysseus in disguise as a suppliant beggar.
  • Moreover, it also implied that Roman territory, whether administered by the army or by suppliant British rulers, was firmly in Aulus Plautius' hands.
pleading, begging, imploring, entreating, supplicating;
on bended knee



Example sentences
  • That mode of expressing grief was used also by the heathen, but was specially appropriate in the pious worshippers of God in suppliantly deprecating his wrath.
  • The Council of Trent teaches that ‘the saints who reign together with Christ offer their prayers to God for men;’ and that ‘it is a good and useful thing suppliantly to invoke them, and to flee to their prayers, help, and assistance;’ and that they are ‘impious men’ who maintain the contrary.


Late Middle English (as a noun): from French, 'beseeching', present participle of supplier, from Latin supplicare (see supplicate).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sup·pli·ant

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