Compliance - compliant - comply
The noun compliance and the adjective compliant are both derived from the verb 'to comply', meaning, in general, 'to obey', 'to do something that is desired by someone else', 'to agree with or consent to', or 'to conform'. Some examples are "to comply with the conventions of the workplace", "he complied with his boss's wishes", and "I parked half a mile away, to comply with the parking restrictions".
Two observations may be worth making on these words, one on pronunciation, and the other on their idiomatic usage.
- The verb 'to comply' is pronounced with the second syllable like 'eye': 'c'mpl-EYE' IPA: /kəm ˈplaɪ/. Both the noun compliance and the adjective compliant are like it: 'compl-EYE-ance' IPA: /kəm ˈplaɪ əns/, and 'com-PLY-ent' IPA: /kəm ˈplaɪ ənt/. This is unlike most words in English beginning with 'compli-', e.g. 'compliment' and 'complicated', in which the stress is on the first syllable, and the vowel of the second syllable is 'short', as in 'in', 'is' and 'it'.
- The verb can be used intransitively: "Caesar spoke: the Romans complied." More usually, it is used with the preposition with: "one should 'comply with' the local laws", and "readers 'comply with' the expectation of silence in the library." Both compliance and compliant have the same prepositional use: "The device is fully compliant with the relevant Safety laws", or "the University's Regulations are fully in compliance with the national policy."
The adjective compliant can also be used with no preposition to describe character or attitude: "he is a very compliant person."
- Warning Note: compliant can be confused, by a typing error, with complaint. Do not let such an error survive in your writing.