plac·​id | \ ˈpla-səd How to pronounce placid (audio) \

Definition of placid

: serenely free of interruption or disturbance placid skies a placid disposition also : complacent sense 1

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Other Words from placid

placidity \ pla-​ˈsi-​də-​tē How to pronounce placid (audio) , plə-​ \ noun
placidly \ ˈpla-​səd-​lē How to pronounce placid (audio) \ adverb
placidness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for placid

calm, tranquil, serene, placid, peaceful mean quiet and free from disturbance. calm often implies a contrast with a foregoing or nearby state of agitation or violence. the protests ended, and the streets were calm again tranquil suggests a very deep quietude or composure. the tranquil beauty of a formal garden serene stresses an unclouded and lofty tranquility. watched the sunset of a serene summer's evening placid suggests an undisturbed appearance and often implies a degree of complacency. remained placid despite the criticism peaceful implies a state of repose in contrast with or following strife or turmoil. grown peaceful in old age

What is the Difference Between placid, calm, tranquil, and serene?

Like placid, the words calm, tranquil, and serene all mean "quiet and free from disturbance." Calm conveys a quiet composure that contrasts with surrounding chaos, while tranquil suggests a very deep quietude and peace. Serene is loftier still, carrying a sense of utter peace and happiness. Though placid traces back to Latin placēre, meaning "to please," it isn't always as positive a term as its synonyms. It can imply a lack of agitation rather than a true peace, and it sometimes suggests excessive self-satisfaction or even stupidity.

Examples of placid in a Sentence

a person with a sunny, placid disposition the placid surface of the lake
Recent Examples on the Web One features a placid moon, the other portrays a girl submerged in water. Julia Barajas, Los Angeles Times, "How Long Beach students are turning mail into the most personal art," 22 Feb. 2021 What if today’s placid macroeconomic reality becomes far more volatile and unpredictable? Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "Boom, then Bust?," 20 Feb. 2021 All this adds to the still-emerging picture of our solar system as a dynamic place of continual upheaval, not a static and placid domain as imagined by many scientists in the past. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Cassini’s “Grand Finale” Will Be a Blaze of Glory," 14 Sep. 2017 But even seemingly placid neighborhoods suffer traffic deaths and injuries, said Medeiros, citing District 5, which includes Hayes Valley and the Haight and has seen 17 traffic deaths and 2,283 injuries. Michael Cabanatuan,, "More than 200 killed, 20,000 hurt in S.F. traffic incidents since 2014," 24 Jan. 2021 But beneath that placid surface lurks a soul-crusher: the story of an unemployed factory worker, dreaming of better times in warmer climes while facing a dark holiday season. Jody Rosen, Los Angeles Times, "The 50 best Christmas songs of the last 50 years," 14 Dec. 2020 The huge, shimmering, placid image sits encrusted with a lumpy coat of gold leaf that in places is six inches thick. Paul Salopek, History & Culture, "How much work goes into flattening gold leaf? 20,000 hammer blows.," 4 Dec. 2020 So enjoy the film below (and then watch the original black-and-white version uploaded to YouTube in 2017) -- and put out of your mind that the placid scenes occurred just a year before the deadly influenza pandemic hit the city. oregonlive, "Watch Old Portland return in living color thanks to charming 1917 film revamped for modern eyes," 2 Dec. 2020 By replacing it, first as a fuel and then as a material, the British exited a long era of placid economic growth and entered a dizzying time of unbounded possibility. Daniel Immerwahr, The New Republic, "How Trees Made Us Human," 1 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'placid.' 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 placid

1626, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for placid

Latin placidus, from placēre to please — more at please

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Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Placid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for placid



English Language Learners Definition of placid

: not easily upset or excited
: not moving much : calm and steady


plac·​id | \ ˈpla-səd How to pronounce placid (audio) \

Kids Definition of placid

: calm and peaceful a placid face a placid lake

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