plumb

noun
\ ˈpləm \

Definition of plumb 

(Entry 1 of 4)

: a lead weight attached to a line and used to indicate a vertical direction

out of plumb or off plumb

: out of vertical or true

plumb

adverb

Definition of plumb (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : straight down or up : vertically

2 chiefly dialectal : to a complete degree : absolutely 'you're plumb crazy', she remarked, with easy candorHarper's Weekly

3 : in a direct manner : exactly also : without interval of time : immediately

plumb

verb
plumbed; plumbing; plumbs

Definition of plumb (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to weight with lead

2a : to measure the depth of with a plumb

b : to examine minutely and critically plumbing the book's complexities

3 : to adjust or test by a plumb line

4 : to seal with lead

5 [ back-formation from plumber ] : to supply with or install as plumbing

intransitive verb

: to work as a plumber

plumb

adjective

Definition of plumb (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : exactly vertical or true

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for plumb

Adjective

vertical, perpendicular, plumb mean being at right angles to a base line. vertical suggests a line or direction rising straight upward toward a zenith. the side of the cliff is almost vertical perpendicular may stress the straightness of a line making a right angle with any other line, not necessarily a horizontal one. the parallel bars are perpendicular to the support posts plumb stresses an exact verticality determined (as with a plumb line) by earth's gravity. make sure that the wall is plumb

Examples of plumb in a Sentence

Adverb

He set the board plumb. I plumb forgot about the party.

Verb

The book plumbs the complexities of human relationships. a scientist who spent her life plumbing the minds of criminals The play plumbs the depths of human nature. The plumber is almost finished plumbing the apartment. The new house has been wired and plumbed. All the bathroom fixtures have been plumbed.

Adjective

The carpenter made sure that the wall was plumb. a horror movie that's plumb trash and further evidence of the deterioration of popular culture
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The toppling tower inclined slowly to about fifteen feet out of plumb. sandiegouniontribune.com, "Train tower toppled," 19 Mar. 2018 Hold each post plumb and drive nails through the anchors into the wood. Rick Peters, Popular Mechanics, "How to Build a Pergola Right in Your Backyard," 1 May 2016 Thankfully the technology used today has advanced beyond dangling plumb lines over the side of the ship. Kyle Frischkorn, Smithsonian, "Why The First Complete Map of the Ocean Floor Is Stirring Controversial Waters," 13 July 2017 In other cases, the off-plumb spaces were turned into a narrow alley so that the rest of the parcel would have 90-degree corners. Richard Campanella, NOLA.com, "New Orleans 'Fort-prints': Odd angled properties are relics of city's fortified past," 10 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

According to plumbing company Boulden Brothers, these are frequently the cause of clogs and should always be thrown out in a wastebasket instead. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "16 Things You Should Never Flush Down The Toilet," 29 June 2018 In league with two other female agents, Helen risks her career and life to obtain evidence against Robert and to plumb the Pond’s secrets. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "Mysteries: It Isn’t Safe to Cross ‘The Pond’," 6 July 2018 Verily is not the first to try to plumb the potential of derrière devices for babies. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Alphabet’s Verily has a “smart diaper“ design that distinguishes pee from poo," 17 May 2018 Rogelio, on the other hand, is someone who has sought to plumb his own feelings over the course of several seasons, and the show celebrates him for it. Jordan Calhoun, The Atlantic, "Growing Up Without Jane the Virgin," 20 Apr. 2018 Unafraid of a deliberate tempo and insisting on ardent phrase-making from the strings, Alsop plumbed more deeply into the music’s meanings than one might reasonably have expected in an outdoor setting. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "CSO at Ravinia review: Marin Alsop poetically launches Bernstein tribute," 13 July 2018 But there are start-ups plumbing the possibilities of the technology as well, including Rigetti Computing and Quantum Circuits, that SoftBank could invest in. New York Times, "SoftBank Wants to Build the Future. Here Are Some New Bets It Could Make.," 14 June 2018 The interview highlighted Putin’s effort to continue to show personal deference to Trump even as the overall relationship between Moscow and Washington plumbs new depths. Anton Troianovski, Washington Post, "Putin to Trump: ‘The ball is in America’s court’," 9 June 2018 Bid categories included general trades; roofing; metal studs, drywall and acoustics; flooring; painting and wall coverings; plumbing; mechanical; and electrical. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Porter County Expo Center upgrades expected to begin after county fair," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In the still air, the rope swing on a nearby maple branch hung straight down, following the plumb line of gravity’s pull. Barbara Damrosch, The Denver Post, "Trellises and other supports that blend into the garden — and sometimes shine," 5 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plumb.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of plumb

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Adverb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plumb

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French plum, plomb, from Latin plumbum lead

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about plumb

Statistics for plumb

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plumb

The first known use of plumb was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for plumb

plumb

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of plumb

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: exactly straight down or up : in a perfectly vertical position

: to a complete degree

plumb

verb

English Language Learners Definition of plumb (Entry 2 of 3)

: to examine (something) in a careful and complete way in order to understand it

: to experience or reach (something)

: to install pipes for sinks, toilets, etc., in (a building or room)

plumb

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of plumb (Entry 3 of 3)

: exactly vertical : standing perfectly straight and not leaning in any way

plumb

noun
\ ˈpləm \

Kids Definition of plumb

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a small weight attached to a line and used to show depth or a straight vertical line

plumb

verb
plumbed; plumbing

Kids Definition of plumb (Entry 2 of 3)

: to measure or test with a plumb They plumbed the depth of a well.

plumb

adverb

Kids Definition of plumb (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : exactly straight up and down

2 : completely I plumb forgot.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on plumb

What made you want to look up plumb? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!