Pliable means bendable but not breakable. Wax is pliable, good leather is pliable. If you describe a person as pliable, it usually means that he's easily influenced, like a nightclub owner who takes orders from a crime boss.
When Madame barks "Plier!" (rhymes with "okay") in ballet class, all the students obediently bend their knees into a graceful semi-crouch. Plier is French for bend and it's the root of the word pliable. The word pliable itself is quite pliable, an apt description for everything from building materials to a person's character.