malleable

adjective
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

Synonyms

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

Students also change their mind—a dancer today may decide to be a data scientist later—and academic performance also can be malleable. Allison Schrager, Quartz, "How young is too young to begin preparing for a career?," 6 June 2019 Religious superstition and a malleable view of Christianity (which mostly just enabled a continuing terror of any outsiders) reigned, despite the fact that the lower classes of priests were also illiterate, and therefore could not read the Bible. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Notre Dame Is a Cruel Metaphor for Our World Right Now," 25 Apr. 2019 But at the same time, the bottom half of the braid needed to be malleable. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "It Took a Week—and 12 Feet of Latex—to Create Tessa Thompson’s Met Gala Braid," 7 May 2019 In fact, the brain is far more malleable than once thought, responding to changing environments and situations and reorganizing itself throughout our life. Samantha Boardman, Marie Claire, "Can People Really Change?," 26 Mar. 2019 Understanding that people’s memories are malleable can be helpful to managers. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "Why Forgetfulness Might Actually Help You," 22 Jan. 2019 Guitars, and wooden stringed instruments in general, are malleable. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "How to Set Up a Guitar And Make It Your Own," 7 Dec. 2018 That's why a small bit of Silly Putty is malleable in your hands, but a 100-lb ball of the stuff dropped off the top of a building shatters like glass, as seen in this experiment from North Carolina State University. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "A Serious Ode To Silly Putty," 27 Dec. 2018 This is especially true during the first few years of life, when the brain is most malleable. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "The Science Behind Making Your Child Smarter," 24 Dec. 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

15 Jun 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

malleable

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of malleable

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

malleable

adjective
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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