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adjective plau·si·ble \ˈplȯ-zə-bəl\

Simple Definition of plausible

  • : possibly true : believable or realistic

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of plausible

  1. 1 :  superficially fair, reasonable, or valuable but often specious <a plausible pretext>

  2. 2 :  superficially pleasing or persuasive <a swindler… , then a quack, then a smooth, plausible gentleman — R. W. Emerson>

  3. 3 :  appearing worthy of belief <the argument was both powerful and plausible>

plausibleness noun
plausibly play \-blē\ adverb

Examples of plausible in a sentence

  1. I watch the ospreys who nest on Perch Island high atop their white spruce. Our sense of a plausible summer depends much on their diligent success at nest-building and procreation, and on their chicks fledging in late August. —Richard Ford, Wall Street Journal, 14-15 June 2008

  2. … I'd mastered the quick size-up. Does the person seem agreeable over coffee at the drugstore counter and picking up his mail at the post office, drive a plausible vehicle, and know the weather forecast? —Edward Hoagland, Harper's, June 2007

  3. Now, two NASA scientists, both also astronauts, suggest a simpler, safer, and much more plausible way of diverting an offending asteroid. Their method relies on the gravitational tug of a massive, unmanned spacecraft to pull the rock away from a damaging rendezvous with Earth. —R. Cowen, Science News, 12 Nov. 2005

  4. … string theorists can exhibit plausible models of a unified Universe, but unfortunately they cannot explain why we inhabit a particular one. —Michael Atiyah, Nature, 22-29 Dec. 2005

  5. <it's a plausible explanation for the demise of that prehistoric species>

Did You Know?

Today the word plausible usually means "reasonable" or "believable," but it once held the meanings "worthy of being applauded" and "approving." It comes to us from the Latin adjective plausibilis ("worthy of applause"), which in turn derives from the verb plaudere, meaning "to applaud or clap." Other "plaudere" descendants in English include "applaud," "plaudit" (the earliest meaning of which was "a round of applause"), and "explode" (from Latin explodere, meaning "to drive off the stage by clapping).

Origin of plausible

Latin plausibilis worthy of applause, from plausus, past participle of plaudere

First Known Use: 1565

PLAUSIBLE Defined for Kids


adjective plau·si·ble \ˈplȯ-zə-bəl\

Definition of plausible for Students

  1. :  seeming to be reasonable <a plausible excuse>

plausibly \-blē\ adverb

Seen and Heard

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


to manage or play awkwardly

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