aplomb was our Word of the Day on 05/01/2014. Hear the podcast!
Examples of aplomb in a sentence
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
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
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
He showed great aplomb in dealing with the reporters.
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
APLOMB Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of aplomb for English Language Learners
: confidence and skill shown especially in a difficult situation
APLOMB Defined for Kids
Definition of aplomb for Students
: confidence and skill shown especially in a difficult situation He handled the questions with great aplomb.
Seen and Heard
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