The word compliance has Latin roots. In the context of business law, it means something like "adherence to rules" or "conformity to rules".
In relation to management system standards, compliance plays a central role. In this context, compliance can also be seen as the action of a company or organization to achieve conformity with a specification or a commitment entered into voluntarily, for example in relation to standards, laws or agreements. Non-conformity with such commitments is sometimes also referred to as "non-compliance" (a term from ISO 19011).
When the word compliance is used in other languages, however, care must be taken. For example, the internationally recognized ISO 9000 standard for principles and terms in quality management clarifies that the French word "compliance" cannot be used as a synonym for "conformity" (meeting a requirement).