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 plausible (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

In our solar system, the biggest moon is Jupiter's Ganymede, which has a mass only 2.5 percent that of Earth—too small to easily hang on to an Earth-like atmosphere. But I realized that there are plausible ways for moons approaching the mass of Earth to form in other planetary systems, potentially around giant planets within their stars' habitable zones, where such moons could have atmospheres similar to our own planet. — René Heller, Scientific American, January 2015 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 … 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 All are more plausible than the bill that died in the Senate on Tuesday. New York Times, 23 June 2021 This is one of the fundamentals of open-source reporting: ensuring the facts are plausible and looking for supplementary sources—satellite imagery, online records, etc.—without which no OSINT investigation is complete. Harper's Magazine, 22 June 2021 This swing has caused people to speculate that Americans might be drinking more overall, a theory that sounds plausible enough—life has been bad and also boring—but hasn’t really panned out, in the aggregate. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 22 June 2021 As time went on, the dossier’s chief claim—that Chua had been hosting secret dinner parties with judges—began to seem less plausible. Lizzie Widdicombe, The New Yorker, 19 June 2021 The pandemic made these scenarios seem more plausible than ever but thinking that Bitcoin will be your salvation in these situations is probably false. Greg Khojikian, Forbes, 17 June 2021 That is near-impossible now without the full cooperation of China and given Biden's acknowledgment that there are already competing theories that seem plausible to U.S. analysts. Rick Klein, Averi Harper, ABC News, 27 May 2021 The Democratic pollsters suggested two potential reasons that seem plausible. Harry Enten, CNN, 13 Apr. 2021 Seven months ago, just after tearing his Achilles tendon, that didn’t seem plausible. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, 25 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for plausible

Time Traveler

The first known use of plausible was in 1565

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Last Updated

15 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Plausible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plausible. Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on plausible

Nglish: Translation of plausible for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plausible for Arabic Speakers

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