Definition of plausible
- a plausible pretext
- a swindler … , then a quack, then a smooth, plausible gentleman
- —R. W. Emerson
- the argument was both powerful and plausible
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it's a plausible explanation for the demise of that prehistoric species
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.
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).
First Known Use: 1565See Words from the same year
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to lessen the seriousness or strength of
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