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 first artist needs to be malleable; open to ideas. Paul Grein, Billboard, "Ken Ehrlich on Grammys Past & Future: 'Overblown' Ariana Grande Clash & 'Energy' of Young 2020 Performers," 14 Jan. 2020 As extremist groups have grown increasingly visible in the physical world, their influence over malleable young minds in the digital realm has become a particularly urgent concern for parents. The Washington Post, oregonlive, "‘Do you have white teenage sons? Listen up.’ How white supremacists are recruiting boys online.," 18 Sep. 2019 But the advantage, unlike for high-end wine, is that with the flavorings, her product is endlessly malleable. Esther Mobley,, "The age of cannabis rosé is here. Do the weed wines taste like bong water?," 2 Jan. 2020 This special report will argue that anchored inflation expectations, technological change and the flow of goods and capital across borders have conspired to make inflation a less meaningful—and less malleable—economic indicator. The Economist, "The world economyInflation is losing its meaning as an economic indicator," 10 Oct. 2019 And where does that leave players like Khris Middleton, who are not only skilled and productive but also malleable to a wide variety of roles? Rob Mahoney,, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020: Inside the Process," 9 Sep. 2019 Millions of people go about their day according to not only man's often unjust and malleable laws, but God's laws of kindness, humility, and love. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: Antonio Brown exposed the Raiders’ relentless incompetence," 7 Sep. 2019 Among the most pervasive, however, were phthalates—a group of chemicals, including DEHP and DIBP, that make plastic soft and malleable. National Geographic, "Dollar stores moving to pull dangerous plastics from shelves," 24 May 2019 The final dough should be smooth, and slightly sticky but still malleable. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Taking the gnocchi challenge," 1 Oct. 2019

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

26 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Malleable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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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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