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 All of this, Howard said, puts Scott’s case in the rare territory of both being plausible and verifiable and providing a legal pathway to exoneration. Fox News, "Ohio man who sought exoneration over murder convictions dies of coronavirus in prison," 21 May 2020 All of this is plausible but totally hypothetical; the virus was only discovered in January, and most of its biology is still a mystery. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "Why the Coronavirus Has Been So Successful," 20 Mar. 2020 Another major upshot of the night was the disappearance of a plausible path for candidates other than Biden and Sanders. Rick Klein, ABC News, "Biden takes command of race, amid signs the party never left him: Analysis," 3 Mar. 2020 This is plausible in the aggregate at certain income levels. Simon Johnson, WSJ, "Warren, Unlike Sanders, Makes the Medicare Math Add Up," 2 Mar. 2020 The Pentagon’s budget easily dwarfed that of any plausible combination of rivals. Andrew J. Bacevich, Harper's magazine, "The Old Normal," 2 Mar. 2020 Back then, celebrating 50 years didn't even seem plausible. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "This pandemic love story will make you smile: Louisville couple celebrates 50 years," 28 Apr. 2020 But with California courts not only shut down for the time being but likely growing a huge backlog of cases, that date is no longer plausible. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "Can coronavirus shutdown lead to equal pay for U.S. women’s soccer?," 6 Apr. 2020 Both scenarios are equally plausible, says Sunetra Gupta, the theoretical epidemiologist who led the Oxford work. Martin Enserink, Science | AAAS, "Mathematics of life and death: How disease models shape national shutdowns and other pandemic policies," 25 Mar. 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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Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Plausible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plausible. Accessed 31 May. 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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