plausible

adjective
plau·​si·​ble | \ ˈplȯ-zə-bəl How to pronounce plausible (audio) \

Definition of plausible

1 : superficially fair, reasonable, or valuable but often specious a plausible pretext
2 : superficially pleasing or persuasive a swindler …  , then a quack, then a smooth, plausible gentleman— R. W. Emerson
3 : appearing worthy of belief the argument was both powerful and plausible

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Other Words from plausible

plausibleness noun
plausibly \ ˈplȯ-​zə-​blē How to pronounce plausibly (audio) \ adverb

You Can Believe This History of Plausible

Today the word plausible usually means "reasonable" or "believable," but it once held the meanings "worthy of being applauded" and "approving." It comes to us from the Latin adjective plausibilis ("worthy of applause"), which in turn derives from the verb plaudere, meaning "to applaud or clap." Other "plaudere" descendants in English include "applaud," "plaudit" (the earliest meaning of which was "a round of applause"), and "explode" (from Latin explodere, meaning "to drive off the stage by clapping).

Examples of plausible in a Sentence

I watch the ospreys who nest on Perch Island high atop their white spruce. Our sense of a plausible summer depends much on their diligent success at nest-building and procreation, and on their chicks fledging in late August. — Richard Ford, Wall Street Journal, 14-15 June 2008 … I'd mastered the quick size-up. Does the person seem agreeable over coffee at the drugstore counter and picking up his mail at the post office, drive a plausible vehicle, and know the weather forecast? — Edward Hoagland, Harper's, June 2007 Now, two NASA scientists, both also astronauts, suggest a simpler, safer, and much more plausible way of diverting an offending asteroid. Their method relies on the gravitational tug of a massive, unmanned spacecraft to pull the rock away from a damaging rendezvous with Earth. — R. Cowen, Science News, 12 Nov. 2005 … string theorists can exhibit plausible models of a unified Universe, but unfortunately they cannot explain why we inhabit a particular one. — Michael Atiyah, Nature, 22-29 Dec. 2005 it's a plausible explanation for the demise of that prehistoric species
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Recent Examples on the Web

The judge agreed that the student has a plausible case to go forward on that claim. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "Court ruling opens new avenue for lawsuits from students accused of sexual assault," 5 June 2019 This is especially plausible considering Jay Z and Nas have had a rivalry since the late 1990s. refinery29.com, "The Carters Address Their Rumored Kanye Beef On Everything Is Love," 17 June 2018 Whether Winslow’s alibis would be plausible and capable of withstanding the scrutiny of modern law enforcement technology is a separate matter. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Could Kellen Winslow Jr.'s Attorneys Use Football-Induced Brain Injury as Defense for Alleged Crimes?," 16 June 2018 Those theories were plausible but not likely in the opinion of Goldberg, who educated himself by touching base with the missing persons unit of the LAPD and with Det. Steve Lopez, latimes.com, "She vanished 18 months ago with no leads. Now, a volunteer cop has a troubling theory about what happened to her," 7 Apr. 2018 On the other hand, some movies depict futuristic technologies that are so plausible and practical, people invent them in the real world. David Pogue, Scientific American, "How Well Do Movies Predict Our Tech Future?," 1 Jan. 2018 Still, the fact that the idea would even seem plausible illustrates the risks Democrats... Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "Impeachment Could Be a Trap—for Democrats," 29 Apr. 2019 Given the showrunner’s Big Schadenfreude Energy, killing the most honorable knight in the Seven Kingdoms certainly seems plausible. Sophie Kemp, Vogue, "Who Will Die Next on Game of Thrones, According to the Internet," 26 Apr. 2019 But the one country where there is a plausible justification is China.... The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump’s China Brinksmanship," 6 May 2019

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

1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plausible

Latin plausibilis worthy of applause, from plausus, past participle of plaudere

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Dictionary Entries near plausible

plauditory

Plauen

plausibility

plausible

plausive

plaustral

plaustrum

Statistics for plausible

Last Updated

9 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for plausible

The first known use of plausible was in 1565

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More Definitions for plausible

plausible

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of plausible

: possibly true : believable or realistic

plausible

adjective
plau·​si·​ble | \ ˈplȯ-zə-bəl How to pronounce plausible (audio) \

Kids Definition of plausible

: seeming to be reasonable a plausible excuse

Other Words from plausible

plausibly \ -​blē \ adverb

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