malleable

adjective
mal·​lea·​ble | \ ˈma-lē-ə-bəl, ˈmal-yə-bəl, ˈma-lə-bəl\

Definition of malleable

1 : capable of being extended or shaped by beating with a hammer or by the pressure of rollers
2a : capable of being altered or controlled by outside forces or influences
b : having a capacity for adaptive change

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from malleable

malleability \ ˌma-​lē-​ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē , ˌmal-​yə-​, ˌma-​lə-​ \ noun

Synonyms for malleable

Synonyms

moldable, plastic, shapable (or shapeable), waxy

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for malleable

plastic, pliable, pliant, ductile, malleable, adaptable mean susceptible of being modified in form or nature. plastic applies to substances soft enough to be molded yet capable of hardening into the desired fixed form. plastic materials allow the sculptor greater freedom pliable suggests something easily bent, folded, twisted, or manipulated. pliable rubber tubing pliant may stress flexibility and sometimes connote springiness. an athletic shoe with a pliant sole ductile applies to what can be drawn out or extended with ease. ductile metals such as copper malleable applies to what may be pressed or beaten into shape. the malleable properties of gold adaptable implies the capability of being easily modified to suit other conditions, needs, or uses. computer hardware that is adaptable

Did You Know?

There is a hint about the origins of "malleable" in its first definition. The earliest uses of the word, which first appeared in English in the 14th century, referred primarily to metals that could be reshaped by beating with a hammer. The Middle English word malliable comes to us from Medieval Latin malleabilis, which in turn derives from the Latin verb malleare, meaning "to hammer." "Malleare" itself was created from the Latin word for "hammer": "malleus." If you have guessed that "maul" and "mallet," other English words for specific types of hammers, can also be traced back to "malleus," you have hit the nail on the head.

Examples of malleable in a Sentence

The brothers Warner presented a flexible, malleable world that defied Newton, a world of such plasticity that anything imaginable was possible. — Billy Collins, Wall Street Journal, 28–29 June 2008 At each landing the villagers had carved the wonderfully malleable silt into staircases, terraces, crenellations, and ziggurats. — Kenneth Brower, National Geographic Traveler, March 2000 The boy seemed to me possessed by a blind, invalid arrogance, and every human being, as his eye flicked over or flinched against them, became, immediately, as malleable as his mother and his father. — James Baldwin, The Evidence of Things Not Seen, 1985 the cult leader took advantage of the malleable, compliant personalities of his followers
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

That's why a small bit of Silly Putty is malleable in your hands, but a 100-lb ball of the stuff dropped off the top of a building shatters like glass, as seen in this experiment from North Carolina State University. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "A Serious Ode To Silly Putty," 27 Dec. 2018 This is especially true during the first few years of life, when the brain is most malleable. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "The Science Behind Making Your Child Smarter," 24 Dec. 2018 The sugar paste is also more malleable than hard wax, which allows it to get all the way down to the root. Emily Rekstis, SELF, "I Tried Sugaring and I'll Never Get Waxed Again," 25 July 2018 Underneath the layers of women’s clothes, Niko is a 19-year-old man with a short crop of brown hair and a soft, malleable face, still clinging to its last bits of baby fat. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Meet Gerilyn, Tbilisi’s Queen of Drag," 21 Nov. 2018 Jill Larson and her remarkably malleable physique dominate this movie much the same way Toni Collette owned 2018’s best horror film. Dylan Scott, Vox, "13 found-footage horror movies actually worth watching this Halloween," 19 Oct. 2018 In doing so, the feet transform from soft, malleable landing pads to rigid levers designed to help propel your body forward. SELF, "7 Ways to Treat Your Feet During Marathon Training," 13 Sep. 2018 Previously malleable meanings behind the lyrics became fixed, and gone was the song’s pluralist subtext. New York Times, "‘God Bless America’: 100 Years of an Immigrant’s Anthem," 2 July 2018 But how such voters choose to define their identity-group’s policy goals is highly malleable; as is the degree to which their social identities are inflected by class consciousness. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Ocasio-Cortez Proved That ‘Identity Politics’ Is an Asset For Berniecrats," 27 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'malleable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of malleable

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for malleable

Middle English malliable, from Medieval Latin malleabilis, from malleare to hammer, from Latin malleus hammer — more at maul

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about malleable

Listen to Our Podcast about malleable

Statistics for malleable

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for malleable

The first known use of malleable was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for malleable

malleable

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of malleable

: capable of being stretched or bent into different shapes

: capable of being easily changed or influenced

malleable

adjective
mal·​lea·​ble | \ ˈma-lē-ə-bəl, ˈmal-yə-bəl\

Kids Definition of malleable

: capable of being extended or shaped with blows from a hammer

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on malleable

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

WORD OF THE DAY

means, resources, or money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!