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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from plausible

plausibleness noun
plausibly \ ˈplȯ-​zə-​blē How to pronounce plausibly (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

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

Perhaps a more plausible explanation for companies choosing not to invest is that CEOs see fewer opportunities in a postcrisis low-growth world, and shareholders agree. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "A Davos Debate: What Is Finance for?," 24 Jan. 2019 There are a whole bunch of plausible explanations that don't require fraud. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "British spy agency casts more doubt on spy chip report," 5 Oct. 2018 Granted, one reason for the surge could be New York's mild winter, but an equally plausible explanation lies in our current political climate. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The Statue of Liberty Is Experiencing a Surge in Visitors," 30 Mar. 2017 The outlook is definitely plausible at the moment, considering neither Beth nor Randall seem open to giving up their new careers. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "This Is Us’s Emotional Promo for Next Week Has Everyone Worked Up Over Randall and Beth," 20 Mar. 2019 Capote’s central suggestion—that affection endows Christmas more grandly than things—might sound too precious by half, but the lyricism of his language makes his message compellingly plausible. Danny Heitman, WSJ, "An Ode to Holiday Companionship," 21 Dec. 2018 Meanwhile, wanting to do right by Foles was really the only plausible reason for the Eagles turning down such an enticing offer. Steven Ruiz, For The Win, "Nick Foles denies turning down a trade to the Browns: 'It didn't happen'," 29 May 2018 Though numerous factors conspire against getting a deal done, the involvement of the Issel and the visibility of potential investors make the erstwhile pipe dream more plausible. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville's NBA pipe dream is far more plausible now," 15 Feb. 2018 Great white sharks evolved around four million years ago, giving them hundreds of thousands of years to spread around the world and eat all of the megalodon’s food, so this theory is plausible. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Prehistoric Megalodon Shark May Have Been Killed Off by the Great White," 14 Feb. 2019

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

14 Apr 2019

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 How to pronounce plausible (audio) \

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

an enemy or opponent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!