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


moldable, plastic, shapable (or shapeable), waxy

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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

But by then Democrats will have changed their malleable minds to favor keeping it. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: Democrats may change their malleable minds about the National Popular Vote," 29 Aug. 2019 In research published in November, Howard Eichenbaum, a neuroscientist at Boston University, and collaborators showed that cells in rats that form the brain’s internal GPS system, known as grid cells, are more malleable than had been anticipated. Quanta Magazine, "New Clues to How the Brain Maps Time," 26 Jan. 2016 Horford’s smart, versatile game is malleable to any winning era in Celtics history. Chad Finn,, "Al Horford would have fit in with any great Celtics team," 19 June 2019 Cheatham’s biggest weakness is a highly questionable jump shot, which won’t do him many favors, but his offensive role at forward is otherwise malleable. Jeremy Woo,, "2019 NBA Draft Big Board 7.0: Top 100 Prospect Rankings," 5 June 2019 Adult brains are less malleable than juvenile ones, much as a Boltzmann machine trained with 100,000 car images won’t change much upon seeing another: Its synapses already have the correct weights to categorize a car. Quanta Magazine, "As Machines Get Smarter, Evidence They Learn Like Us," 23 July 2013 In reality, algorithms applied to malleable humans can have drastically different and pernicious side effects on a global scale. Wired Opinion, WIRED, "AI Algorithms Need FDA-Style Drug Trials," 15 Aug. 2019 The Swampers’ simpatico playing and malleable country-funk made them music’s hit-making secret sauce, in the mid ’60s at FAME Studios and then their own Muscle Shoals Sound in Sheffield after seceding from Hall in 1969. Matt Wake |, al, "Swampers drum legend’s hot beats and cold winter," 7 Aug. 2019 While Johnson's stance on Brexit has defined his leadership bid, his incendiary remarks on everything from religion to race have sparked criticism about his character, and his malleable political views have raised questions about his convictions. Eliza Mackintosh, CNN, "Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister at critical moment for UK," 24 July 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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Statistics for malleable

Last Updated

19 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for malleable

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

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More Definitions for malleable



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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