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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Schwantes added that the doctor found that choking did not seem to be a plausible explanation for the brain damage. Sydney Czyzon, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'A parent's worst nightmare': Babysitter goes to prison for causing brain damage, other injuries to baby," 24 June 2019 More plausible candidates for top jobs include current prime ministers Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, Stefan Lofven of Sweden, Andrej Plenkovic of Croatia and Charles Michel of Belgium. Washington Post, "EU leaders set for major battle over bloc’s top jobs," 20 June 2019 That impressive success put him on President Clinton’s shortlist of plausible candidates to replace Warren Christopher as secretary of state at the beginning of Clinton’s second term. Thomas Powers, The New York Review of Books, "The Fog of Ambition," 6 June 2019 Axions, a kind of particle that is a plausible candidate to provide the dark matter of the universe, might be discovered in this way. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, "Black Holes May Have ‘Hair’ That We Can See," 3 Jan. 2019 There are, right now, two really plausible candidates. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The big question about today’s economy — are wages going to start growing?," 23 Aug. 2018 The fight over who should replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court is far from over, and there are still a half-dozen plausible candidates in the mix. Adam Liptak, New York Times, "Two Judges Exemplify the Choice Trump Faces in a Supreme Court Pick," 3 July 2018 All allies agree that the most plausible assessment would be that Russia is in violation of the treaty. Fox News, "Putin signs bill withdrawing from nuclear arms treaty with the United States," 4 July 2019 The ruling written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., however, left a slim opening to include the citizenship question if the administration could draft a more plausible legal rationale. David G. Savage, latimes.com, "Citizen question may be back on 2020 census as Trump administration reverses course again," 3 July 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.

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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

21 Jul 2019

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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 How to pronounce plausible (audio) \

Kids Definition of plausible

: seeming to be reasonable a plausible excuse

Other Words from plausible

plausibly \ -​blē \ adverb

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