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 The truth is that every plausible configuration of social media in 2020 is unpalatable. Jonathan Zittrain, The Atlantic, "Twitter’s Least-Bad Option for Dealing With Donald Trump," 26 June 2020 The highly plausible caricature of Donald Trump in John Bolton’s book is also completely unsurprising. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Bolton’s Trump Is Also the Voter’s Trump," 19 June 2020 There’s no guarantee that the right things will happen, and the pressure must be unrelenting, but what was impossible weeks ago now seems, at the least, plausible. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "How Public Opinion Changes for the Better," 17 June 2020 But sophisticated attacks would become far more plausible if the software were used to elect members of Congress and even the president. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Researchers say online voting tech used in 5 states is fatally flawed," 10 June 2020 But the three Fourth Circuit judges who heard the case — all nominated by Republican presidents — repeatedly questioned Mosier about the Supreme Court’s finding that there is a plausible rationale to support the travel ban. Denise Lavoie, BostonGlobe.com, "Court orders dismissal of Trump Muslim travel ban challenges," 8 June 2020 Perhaps the only out-and-out comedy on this list, Wag the Dog is an eerily prescient satire of media manipulation that feels only more plausible as the years pass. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The 13 Best Movies About Why You Shouldn’t Trust the Government," 5 June 2020 Put simply, there is no plausible path to victory for him without it. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Republican National Convention coming to Phoenix? Here's what we know," 4 June 2020 For one thing, conservatives’ complaints that elites are not on their side have become more plausible. The Economist, "Return of the paranoid style Fake news is fooling more conservatives than liberals. Why?," 3 June 2020

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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Statistics for plausible

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Plausible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plausible. Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for plausible

plausible

adjective
How to pronounce plausible (audio)

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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