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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Given China’s economic clout and ability to rally behind a cause, at least two of those outcomes seem plausible. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Why the world's biggest countries fail with the World Cup," 8 July 2018 Things that once seemed unthinkable now seem plausible, yet the idea of a Purge thankfully still seems a little far-fetched. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'The First Purge:' Interesting ideas drown in a bloodbath," 4 July 2018 But Duda's argument that Google's patent just applies ANS to a conventional video decoder seems pretty plausible. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Inventor says Google is patenting work he put in the public domain," 10 June 2018 Green's face is all of ours and his explanation that Smith was looking for James is the most plausible. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Watch: Draymond Green's Facial Expressions on J.R. Smith's Blunder are Priceless," 1 June 2018 Photo: denis balibouse/Reuters The most plausible explanation is that Mr. Rupert wants flexibility to reshape the portfolio radically if the opportunity comes along. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "How to Spend It: Cartier Owner’s Puzzling Cash Pile," 18 May 2018 The clickbait economy has trained readers to recognize shock and surprise as gauges of newsworthiness, and our increasingly surreal political universe has made conspiracy theories seem more plausible. Connie Wang, refinery29.com, "Inside The Fake News Campaign To Smear Russia's Biggest Fashion Influencers," 6 May 2018 Here are the most plausible fits for San Francisco, which either will have the ninth or 10th pick in the draft’s opening round: Never miss a local story. Matt Barrows, sacbee, "With their first pick: Six persons of interest for the 49ers | The Sacramento Bee," 26 Feb. 2018 Perhaps the most plausible explanation for Berg's arrest, some speculate, is Russia's way of protesting this new American and NATO presence in the north. Steve Haycox, Anchorage Daily News, "Norwegian may be new victim of old Arctic sovereignty game," 8 Feb. 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.

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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

10 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \

Kids Definition of plausible

: seeming to be reasonable a plausible excuse

Other Words from plausible

plausibly \ -​blē \ adverb

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