Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

aplomb

play
noun \ə-ˈpläm, -ˈpləm\

Simple Definition of aplomb

  • : confidence and skill shown especially in a difficult situation

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of aplomb

  1. :  complete and confident composure or self-assurance :  poise

Examples of aplomb in a sentence

  1. In “The Most Famous Man in America,” Applegate, a Ph.D. in American studies from Yale, tells this grand story with aplomb, intelligence and a sure feel for historical context. —Michael Kazin, New York Times Book Review, 16 July 2006

  2. Stefan Soltesz conducts the excellent chorus and orchestra with aplomb, and television director Brian Large does his usual exemplary job. —Alan Wagner, Opera News, November 2001

  3. During a script conference recounted in the New Yorker piece, Ley fielded a variety of questions with striking aplomb that sometimes verged on arrogance. —Frank Kuznik, Air & Space, April/May 1995

  4. He showed great aplomb in dealing with the reporters.

  5. <you've handled a difficult situation with perfect aplomb>



Did You Know?

In the 19th century, English speakers borrowed aplomb, meaning "composure," from French. "Aplomb" can also mean "perpendicularity" in French and comes from the phrase a plomb, meaning "perpendicularly or literally "according to the plummet." A plummet is a lead weight that is attached to a line and used to determine vertical alignment. Not surprisingly, "aplomb" and English words like "plumber" and the verb "plumb" ("to measure depth" and "to explore critically and minutely") ultimately trace back to the Latin word for lead, "plumbum."

Origin and Etymology of aplomb

French, literally, perpendicularity, from Middle French, from a plomb, literally, according to the plummet


First Known Use: 1823

Synonym Discussion of aplomb

confidence, assurance, self-possession, aplomb mean a state of mind or a manner marked by easy coolness and freedom from uncertainty, diffidence, or embarrassment. confidence stresses faith in oneself and one's powers without any suggestion of conceit or arrogance <the confidence that comes from long experience>. assurance carries a stronger implication of certainty and may suggest arrogance or lack of objectivity in assessing one's own powers <handled the cross-examination with complete assurance>. self-possession implies an ease or coolness under stress that reflects perfect self-control and command of one's powers <answered the insolent question with complete self-possession>. aplomb implies a manifest self-possession in trying or challenging situations <handled the reporters with great aplomb>.

APLOMB Defined for Kids

aplomb

play
noun \ə-ˈpläm\

Definition of aplomb for Students

  1. :  confidence and skill shown especially in a difficult situation <He handled the questions with great aplomb.>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up aplomb? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a representation of something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

confounded-person

Which is a synonym of indolent?

philistine lazy frenetic melancholy
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ