plausible

adjective
plau·si·ble | \ˈplȯ-zə-bəl \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from plausible

plausibleness noun
plausibly \ˈplȯ-zə-blē \ 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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Such an acknowledgment could make Kaepernick’s grievance more plausible in the eyes of Burbank. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Why Robert Kraft's Deposition Could Play a Key Role in Colin Kaepernick's Collusion Case," 18 May 2018 The most plausible claim seemed to be that of Doyle, who in 1942, as a teenager, had worked briefly as a metal presser in a Michigan plant. Margalit Fox, The Seattle Times, "Naomi Parker Fraley, the real Rosie the Riveter, dies at 96 in Longview," 22 Jan. 2018 But a more gradual rollback is certainly plausible, as Irin Carmon has outlined in the Washington Post. Dylan Scott, Vox, "John Roberts is the Supreme Court’s new swing vote. Is he going to overturn Roe v. Wade?," 9 July 2018 The rhetoric of the NFFA is just passable enough to seem plausible, chiefly conveyed by actor Patch Darragh as a doughy, duplicitous chief of staff who wears his arrogant privilege like another tacky lapel pin. Mark Olsen, latimes.com, "Review: 'The First Purge' delivers genre pleasures with a timely message of resilience," 3 July 2018 For all its flaws, Westworld is one of the only shows on TV that could generate a plausible, in-universe explanation for how something like that could happen. Scott Meslow, GQ, "Westworld Finale: Let's Break Down Every Bonkers Thing That Happened," 25 June 2018 England winning the World Cup is far less plausible, and even less likely. SI.com, "Can Sergio Ramos Become the 2nd Captain to Lift the European Cup & World Cup in the Same Year?," 15 June 2018 Given all the uncertainty, the biggest question surrounding The Staircase might actually be: In more than 10 hours, why did the series not mention such an insane-sounding, but still plausible, theory? Jennifer M. Wood, WIRED, "Did the Owl Do It? Behind The Staircase's Wildest Theory," 13 June 2018 After some agile British diplomacy the EU’s 28 leaders issued a joint statement declaring that the only plausible explanation for the attack was that Russia was responsible for it. The Economist, "Britain pulls off a diplomatic coup against Russia at the EU," 23 Mar. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about plausible

Listen to Our Podcast about plausible

Dictionary Entries near plausible

plauditory

Plauen

plausibility

plausible

plausive

plaustral

plaustrum

Statistics for plausible

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plausible

The first known use of plausible was in 1565

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

Kids Definition of plausible

: seeming to be reasonable a plausible excuse

Other Words from plausible

plausibly \-blē \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on plausible

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
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!