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

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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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web The ear hooks are malleable and will conform to your ear after just a few wearings, so there’s no worry about these falling off even during the toughest of workouts. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "The best tech products we tested in 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 In it, space and time are malleable; measurements of both space and time depend on the relative speed of the person doing the measuring. Matthew Pillsbury, Travel, "Time travel for travelers? It’s tricky.," 28 Dec. 2020 Embrace any flow of thinking that leads you to an increased social awareness, as this kind of involvement in the world around you will only further expand your already malleable mind. Tarot Astrologers,, "Daily horoscope for December 21, 2020," 21 Dec. 2020 The competing demands may stem in part from the perception that the aging veteran deal-maker may be more malleable than previous presidents. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Cacophony of identity politics complicates Biden Cabinet choices," 15 Dec. 2020 This malleable material offers excellent conforming to the body and good motion isolation which is convenient for couples. Eric Alt, Popular Science, "Best mattress for your body and budget: Five things to consider," 8 Dec. 2020 And while obesity, lung cancer and tardiness aren’t communicable diseases, these experiments show that with the right incentives human behavior is malleable at the margins. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, "The Best Herd Immunity Money Can Buy," 8 Dec. 2020 To be malleable and gluey enough to hold shapes, snow needs to contain 3 to 5 percent liquid water. Malia Wollan, New York Times, "How to Build a Snowman," 1 Dec. 2020 Buffett’s search for integrity runs smack into the current reality that truth is fluid and malleable. Neil Senturia, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Does bad behavior by a CEO or leader carry a price to be paid?," 1 Dec. 2020

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

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Malleable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for malleable


How to pronounce malleable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of malleable

technical : capable of being stretched or bent into different shapes
formal : capable of being easily changed or influenced


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

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