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

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Other Words from malleable

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

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

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 Even in such a unsteady industry, the album has remained a constant, and malleable, asset. Jason Parham, WIRED, "Beyoncé and Jay-Z's Everything Is Love Marks a New Step in the Album's Evolution," 19 June 2018 Whereas cars and computers are made of rigid metal and plastic, clothing is by its nature malleable. Sophie Weiner, Popular Mechanics, "A Robot Can Finally Sew a T-Shirt," 30 Sep. 2016 Yet this is a political climate that says facts are malleable, and expertise itself is a kind of sham — so where does that leave philosophers? Christopher Borrelli,, "Our summer of fear: A conversation with Chicago philosopher Martha Nussbaum," 9 July 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.

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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

30 Nov 2018

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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

: capable of being stretched or bent into different shapes

: capable of being easily changed or influenced


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

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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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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