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 Gold is extremely malleable and, at the same time, unbreakable. Adi Ekshtain, Forbes, "The New Gold Mine: How To Get Started With Payment Facilitation," 12 May 2021 During these stages, the brain is particularly malleable in response to things in one's environment—including the extent to which needs are being fulfilled. Michelle Polizzi,, "Child Poverty Causes Long-Lasting Financial Trauma—But Can Be Overcome," 29 Apr. 2021 Like a blank slate, Chardonnay, the great white grape of Burgundy, lacks a strong character of its own, infinitely malleable by its maker. Esther Mobley,, "Chardonnay: California’s great white grape," 17 Oct. 2016 The staff is expected to fortify guard depth on a roster that's still quite malleable. Shannon Russell, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville guard Josh Nickelberry transferring from basketball program," 8 Apr. 2021 Amazon Crafted from a soft and malleable mesh material that can hold more than seven pounds of feed, the weather-resistant Kaytee finch feeder accommodates a crowd of birds to feed all at once. Daria Smith, Southern Living, "Bird Feeders for Attracting the Most Beautiful Feathered Friends To Your Yard," 24 Mar. 2021 Memories, even emotionally powerful ones, are malleable in the fullness of time. Michael P. H. Stanley, National Review, "How Memory Works and Why It Fails," 20 Mar. 2021 Soft and malleable, great for cuddling, and there’s candy in the pocket! Claire Wyman, The New Yorker, "Find Love Without Leaving Your Apartment," 19 Mar. 2021 Designer Ulla Johnson’s quilted cotton makeup and toiletry bags are malleable (for packing into small nooks) and come in a handful of her signature artisanal prints. Laura Neilson, WSJ, "How to Get Your Luggage Ready, So It’s Set to Travel When You Are," 18 Mar. 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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The first known use of malleable was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Malleable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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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