noun \ə-ˈpläm, -ˈpləm\

Definition of aplomb

  1. :  complete and confident composure or self-assurance :  poise She played several roles with equal aplomb.

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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: 1818

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 English Language Learners


noun \ə-ˈpläm, -ˈpləm\

Definition of aplomb for English Language Learners

  • : confidence and skill shown especially in a difficult situation

APLOMB Defined for Kids


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).


feeling or affected by lethargy

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