mal·​lea·​ble | \ ˈma-lē-ə-bəl How to pronounce malleable (audio) , ˈmal-yə-bəl, ˈma-lə-bəl \

Essential Meaning of malleable

1 technical : capable of being stretched or bent into different shapes a malleable metal
2 formal : capable of being easily changed or influenced a malleable [=flexible] plan malleable young minds

Full 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

Synonyms for malleable


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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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web The Australian Lazenby was certainly a looser, gentler, more malleable Bond; his Highland disguise in this movie would have been unthinkable on Sean Connery. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, 8 Oct. 2021 Young girls are more malleable, more manipulable and more exploitable. Jason Newman, Rolling Stone, 29 Sep. 2021 One theory is that young bodies have more malleable immune systems. Gregory Barber, Wired, 30 Aug. 2021 The language of friendship has become more malleable. Bryan Washington, New York Times, 12 Apr. 2021 Add lasagna noodles and cook, stirring occasionally to ensure noodles don’t stick together, until noodles are malleable, about 7 minutes. Eleanore Park, WSJ, 21 Dec. 2021 Rinka said the size of the 20,000-square-foot library and its amenities are malleable and meant to be influenced by the community. Eddie Morales, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8 Dec. 2021 For example, seventh-graders who were taught that intelligence is malleable achieved higher grades in math. Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times, 8 Nov. 2021 But today’s successful executives are the ones channeling their inner entrepreneur and reacting wisely and immediately to consumers at perhaps their most malleable point in history. Robert Reiss, Forbes, 23 Sep. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for malleable

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

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Dictionary Entries Near malleable



malleable iron

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Malleable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for malleable


mal·​lea·​ble | \ ˈma-lē-ə-bəl How to pronounce malleable (audio) , ˈmal-yə-bəl \

Kids Definition of malleable

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

More from Merriam-Webster on malleable

Nglish: Translation of malleable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of malleable for Arabic Speakers


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