plum·​my ˈplə-mē How to pronounce plummy (audio)
plummier; plummiest
: full of plums
a rich plummy cake
: choice, desirable
got a plummy role in the movie
: having a plum color
: rich and mellow often to the point of affectation
a plummy singing voice

Did you know?

The name of the fruit plum goes back to Old English. During the 18th century, the word plum became a delectable ingredient in the language. The word for the sweet, juicy fruit denoted such things as a fortune of 100,000 pounds, a rich person, and, by the early 19th century, anything desirable. The related adjective plummy blossomed in the early 18th century with the meaning "full of plums" and had branched out as an adjective for desirable things by the century's end. By the 19th century, it was being used to describe rich, mellow voices. The sweetness of the word did eventually sour, however, when people began to use it to describe stilted or affected speech, as in "the teacher used a plummy voice when he talked to the students' parents."

Examples of plummy in a Sentence

the wine's ripe, plummy flavors
Recent Examples on the Web These days, clusters of plummy Concords, oval autumn royals and dusky kyohos are decorating dinner tables, doubling as cornucopian decorations and low-effort snacks. New York Times, 28 Feb. 2024 Reviewing a collection of Tom Wolfe’s journalism, Hitchens deplored Wolfe’s affectations and his plummy conservative politics. Dwight Garner, New York Times, 1 Jan. 2024 Onstage at the Duke of York’s Theatre, no plummy riposte gets the better of her. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 6 Dec. 2023 And although Runciman’s plummy tone never rises to the level of alarm, his prediction is that everything is about to get worse, and this is the point in his account where A.I. becomes more than a useful retrospective metaphor. Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker, 30 Nov. 2023 Grant is equally sublime as her eccentric husband Sir James, the quintessential vaguely absent British toff, batting around inane observations and plummy superlatives while seeming to float above everything from minor mishaps to major disasters. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2019 In addition to his regulation Englishman’s brolly, Craig’s uniform for the event was a sumptuous formal velvet double breasted dinner jacket in a plummy shade of scarlet over a pair of trim black trousers. Guy Martin, Forbes, 29 Sep. 2021 In a year marked by higher-than-ordinary stress levels (to say the least), the idea of sinking into the couch and watching people carefully pipe icing onto cakes while politely complimenting each other’s efforts in plummy British accents has never been more welcome. Emma Specter, Vogue, 15 Sep. 2020 Set to a voice-over of an actor reading the passage in a plummy English accent, the skit featured two actors who were, bizarrely, each dressed as the musician Prince. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, 9 Jan. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'plummy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1724, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of plummy was in 1724


Dictionary Entries Near plummy

Cite this Entry

“Plummy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

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