plumb

noun
\ ˈpləm How to pronounce plumb (audio) \

Definition of plumb

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: a lead weight attached to a line and used to indicate a vertical direction
out of plumb or off plumb
: out of vertical or true

plumb

adverb

Definition of plumb (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : straight down or up : vertically
2 chiefly dialectal : to a complete degree : absolutely 'you're plumb crazy', she remarked, with easy candorHarper's Weekly
3 : in a direct manner : exactly also : without interval of time : immediately

plumb

verb
plumbed; plumbing; plumbs

Definition of plumb (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to weight with lead
2a : to measure the depth of with a plumb
b : to examine minutely and critically plumbing the book's complexities
3 : to adjust or test by a plumb line
4 : to seal with lead
5 [ back-formation from plumber ] : to supply with or install as plumbing

intransitive verb

: to work as a plumber

plumb

adjective

Definition of plumb (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : exactly vertical or true

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for plumb

Adjective

vertical, perpendicular, plumb mean being at right angles to a base line. vertical suggests a line or direction rising straight upward toward a zenith. the side of the cliff is almost vertical perpendicular may stress the straightness of a line making a right angle with any other line, not necessarily a horizontal one. the parallel bars are perpendicular to the support posts plumb stresses an exact verticality determined (as with a plumb line) by earth's gravity. make sure that the wall is plumb

Examples of plumb in a Sentence

Adverb

He set the board plumb. I plumb forgot about the party.

Verb

The book plumbs the complexities of human relationships. a scientist who spent her life plumbing the minds of criminals The play plumbs the depths of human nature. The plumber is almost finished plumbing the apartment. The new house has been wired and plumbed. All the bathroom fixtures have been plumbed.

Adjective

The carpenter made sure that the wall was plumb. a horror movie that's plumb trash and further evidence of the deterioration of popular culture
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Gallery of Kings—the line of statues above the three massive doorways—was almost a foot (.3 meters) out of plumb. Andrew Tallon, National Geographic, "Historian uses lasers to unlock mysteries of Gothic cathedrals," 16 Apr. 2019 In the olden days, woodworkers needed a range of measuring tools, plumbs and levels. Alexandra Samuel, WSJ, "Learning a New Hobby Has Never Been Easier," 14 Dec. 2018 The toppling tower inclined slowly to about fifteen feet out of plumb. sandiegouniontribune.com, "Train tower toppled," 19 Mar. 2018 Hold each post plumb and drive nails through the anchors into the wood. Rick Peters, Popular Mechanics, "How to Build a Pergola Right in Your Backyard," 1 May 2016 Thankfully the technology used today has advanced beyond dangling plumb lines over the side of the ship. Kyle Frischkorn, Smithsonian, "Why The First Complete Map of the Ocean Floor Is Stirring Controversial Waters," 13 July 2017 In other cases, the off-plumb spaces were turned into a narrow alley so that the rest of the parcel would have 90-degree corners. Richard Campanella, NOLA.com, "New Orleans 'Fort-prints': Odd angled properties are relics of city's fortified past," 10 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This is now the most absurd depth British parliamentary government has plumbed since the English Civil War in the mid-17th century. Conrad Black, National Review, "The Roots of Brexit," 9 Sep. 2019 An alien world of life has emerged as explorers have plumbed the pitch-black depths with ever-improving technologies. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "NASA eyes the ocean: How the deep sea could unlock outer space," 23 Aug. 2019 This bright, engaging documentary from Swiss filmmaker Sophie Huber brings the record company’s story into the 21st century, as hip-hop musicians plumb the Blue Note catalog for beats and more cosmic inspiration. SFChronicle.com, "Capsule movie reviews for Aug. 18," 14 Aug. 2019 But a regular job doesn’t always require a person to plumb her own soul. Washington Post, "At age 101, this woman released her first collection of poems," 28 July 2019 Apps can be double trouble here, though,as there are Pinxtos (Basque-style tapas) from which to choose and charcuterie boards that plumb the depths of Spanish classics, progressive tasting parties of differently ages ham and Manchego. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Holy Toledo! Sweeping vistas, Spanish flavors at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort," 18 July 2019 Finally, tourists will have a destination and scientists will have a base to plumb the Moon’s many mysteries. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "A 10-Year Odyssey: What Space Stations Will Look Like in 2030," 10 June 2019 With the introduction of Meryl Streep, who plays Perry’s mother Mary Louise and whose casting single-handedly justifies the existence of the show’s second season, Big Little Lies is beginning to plumb the depths of Perry’s character. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Big Little Lies Ponders What Makes a Man," 10 June 2019 Vanities are veneers covering vulnerabilities, and there are layers this show doesn’t plumb. Nelson Pressley, Washington Post, "‘A Misanthrope’ brings Molière’s fabulous fakes into the 21st century," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Whedon also introduced its snarky, resourceful, green-haired director Abigail Brand, a plumb role for any actress not already in the MCU's orbit. Scott Huver, CNN, "'Spider-Man' end credits suggest a cosmic Marvel future really far from home," 3 July 2019 In the still air, the rope swing on a nearby maple branch hung straight down, following the plumb line of gravity’s pull. Barbara Damrosch, The Denver Post, "Trellises and other supports that blend into the garden — and sometimes shine," 5 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plumb.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of plumb

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Adverb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plumb

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French plum, plomb, from Latin plumbum lead

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for plumb

plumb

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of plumb

 (Entry 1 of 3)

technical : exactly straight down or up : in a perfectly vertical position
US, informal + old-fashioned : to a complete degree

plumb

verb

English Language Learners Definition of plumb (Entry 2 of 3)

literary : to examine (something) in a careful and complete way in order to understand it
: to experience or reach (something)
: to install pipes for sinks, toilets, etc., in (a building or room)

plumb

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of plumb (Entry 3 of 3)

technical : exactly vertical : standing perfectly straight and not leaning in any way

plumb

noun
\ ˈpləm How to pronounce plumb (audio) \

Kids Definition of plumb

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a small weight attached to a line and used to show depth or a straight vertical line

plumb

verb
plumbed; plumbing

Kids Definition of plumb (Entry 2 of 3)

: to measure or test with a plumb They plumbed the depth of a well.

plumb

adverb

Kids Definition of plumb (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : exactly straight up and down
2 : completely I plumb forgot.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on plumb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plumb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plumb

Spanish Central: Translation of plumb

Nglish: Translation of plumb for Spanish Speakers

Comments on plumb

What made you want to look up plumb? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!