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

Prosecutors would likely respond that by speaking broadly to the public instead of privately to Stone, Trump was trying to influence Stone in a manner that gave him plausible deniability. Sean Illing, Vox, "Did Trump commit witness tampering by tweet? I asked 9 legal experts.," 3 Dec. 2018 Notable differences include the use of Cobalt Strike rather than custom malware; however, many espionage actors do use publicly and commercially available frameworks for reasons such as plausible deniability. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Russia’s Cozy Bear comes out of hiding with post-election spear-phishing blitz," 20 Nov. 2018 And at first, rescuing the spacecraft seemed plausible: The engineers retrieved some initial data from the satellite and confirmed its batteries were still working. Meghan Bartels, Space.com, "Long-Lost Spacecraft That NASA Rediscovered This Year Is Incommunicado," 30 Aug. 2018 This kind of hybrid warfare gave Putin just enough plausible deniability about what was clearly happening — Russia seizing territory that belonged to another nation. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Now NATO Says Russian “Hybrid Warfare” Could Start a Real War," 13 July 2018 Other plausible options might include Morgan Stark, or a future Lila Barton, Hawkeye’s own daughter — since Jeremy Renner, who plays Clint Barton, will reportedly be returning in the film. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "People Think Katherine Langford Will Play Hawkeye in "Avengers 4"," 29 Oct. 2018 If Kavanaugh is cleared or even just found to be plausible in his denials, Manchin and perhaps other red-state Democrats will join in support for final confirmation. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Flake & Co. try to tame partisan wildfire," 28 Sep. 2018 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

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

8 Dec 2018

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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 \

Kids Definition of plausible

: seeming to be reasonable a plausible excuse

Other Words from plausible

plausibly \-​blē \ adverb

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