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 plausible (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

In our solar system, the biggest moon is Jupiter's Ganymede, which has a mass only 2.5 percent that of Earth—too small to easily hang on to an Earth-like atmosphere. But I realized that there are plausible ways for moons approaching the mass of Earth to form in other planetary systems, potentially around giant planets within their stars' habitable zones, where such moons could have atmospheres similar to our own planet. — René Heller, Scientific American, January 2015 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 … 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 Writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Wade deemed the theory plausible and worthy of further investigation. Washington Post, 10 June 2021 While that yardstick can be tough to achieve for many ESG disclosures, labor costs — measured in dollars — eminently qualifies as a plausible and useful disclosure item. Shivaram Rajgopal, Forbes, 17 May 2021 In the world of intelligence analysis, moderate confidence means the judgment was based on information deemed to be credibly sourced and plausible. New York Times, 7 May 2021 The bathroom excuse is highly unusual, but indeed plausible. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Apr. 2021 Engel dares to imagine an elegant and plausible erotic arc for a human-bear relationship. Claire Cameron, The New Yorker, 5 Apr. 2021 That normalization is worth far more than any plausible prizes. Mike Bird, WSJ, 3 June 2021 Her teachers might say that isn’t a plausible goal. Los Angeles Times, 2 June 2021 That’s because the other plausible theory of transmission, that the novel coronavirus was accidentally leaked from a lab, was the position backed by former President Donald Trump, and, as a result, many of his followers. Elizabeth Yuko, Rolling Stone, 1 June 2021

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

21 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Plausible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plausible. Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on plausible

Nglish: Translation of plausible for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plausible for Arabic Speakers

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