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

Given Muscovites’ support for the opposition and distrust of the authorities — as revealed in several recent polls — a widespread refusal to take part in exit polling is plausible. Will Englund, Washington Post, "With opposition sidelined, Kremlin-friendly candidates are gliding to victory across Russia," 9 Sep. 2019 So there are three pathways by which the findings described here unfortunately were plausible. Jacqueline Howard, CNN, "9/11 attack tied to cardiovascular risk in firefighters, study says," 6 Sep. 2019 That theory is more plausible than many others, but no one knows for sure. Jim Derogatis, The New Yorker, "Charles Manson’s Musical Ambitions," 14 Aug. 2019 The interpretation is plausible, says Santiago Claramunt, the associate curator of ornithology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Ancient bird foot found in amber has bizarrely long toes," 11 July 2019 Still, there are a few pieces of information worth looking at, if only because the first set of rumors is plausible and the second set is weird — weird enough to be true. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "Pixel 4 rumors are heating up: motion sensing and a square camera bump," 11 June 2019 Dammit, if that man didn’t deliver a near-perfect talk, filled with quasi-scientific possibility speak and soaring rhetoric that sounded ridiculously plausible. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "What do Muslim Voters Want?: raceAhead," 6 Sep. 2019 That’s the first of many family stories that initially sound plausible but then curl into dubiousness. Ron Charles Critic, Washington Post, "In Sadie Jones’s “The Snakes,” parents are more venomous than reptiles," 2 July 2019 Based on the previous beer alone, sounds plausible. Josh Noel, chicagotribune.com, "Goose Island's 2019 Bourbon County beer lineup emerging — or is it? Some labels are probably fakes.," 11 June 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

13 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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Comments on plausible

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