adjective plau·si·ble \ ˈplȯ-zə-bəl \
|Updated on: 18 Aug 2018

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




play \ˈplȯ-zə-blē\ adverb

plausible was our Word of the Day on 07/31/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of plausible in a Sentence

  1. 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 FordWall Street Journal14-15 June 2008
  2. … 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 HoaglandHarper'sJune 2007
  3. 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. CowenScience News12 Nov. 2005
  4. … string theorists can exhibit plausible models of a unified Universe, but unfortunately they cannot explain why we inhabit a particular one. —Michael AtiyahNature22-29 Dec. 2005
  5. it's a plausible explanation for the demise of that prehistoric species

Recent Examples of plausible from the Web

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.

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).

Origin and Etymology of plausible

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

PLAUSIBLE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of plausible for English Language Learners

  • : possibly true : believable or realistic

PLAUSIBLE Defined for Kids


adjective plau·si·ble \ ˈplȯ-zə-bəl \

Definition of plausible for Students

: seeming to be reasonable
  • a plausible excuse


\-blē\ adverb

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fullness to the point of excess

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