plac·​id ˈpla-səd How to pronounce placid (audio)
: serenely free of interruption or disturbance
placid skies
a placid disposition
placidity noun
placidly adverb
placidness noun

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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.

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

Examples of placid in a Sentence

a person with a sunny, placid disposition the placid surface of the lake
Recent Examples on the Web Everything 4Chan did was ultimately for show, and its representatives who appear in the movie, like the placid hippie Fuxnet or the angry Kitaner, have some regrets but aren’t exactly fountains of self-awareness. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 6 Apr. 2024 The moments leading up to a grisly double murder in a placid Broward suburb were detailed in a lengthy arrest warrant released to the public Thursday, more than a week after the killings. Grethel Aguila, Miami Herald, 3 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for placid 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'placid.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin placidus, from placēre to please — more at please

First Known Use

1626, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of placid was in 1626


Dictionary Entries Near placid

Cite this Entry

“Placid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


plac·​id ˈplas-əd How to pronounce placid (audio)
: peacefully free of interruption or disturbance : peaceful, calm
a placid disposition
placidity noun
placidly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on placid

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