re·​li·​able | \ ri-ˈlī-ə-bəl How to pronounce reliable (audio) \

Definition of reliable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : suitable or fit to be relied on : dependable
2 : giving the same result on successive trials



Definition of reliable (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that is reliable

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Other Words from reliable


reliableness noun
reliably \ ri-​ˈlī-​ə-​blē How to pronounce reliably (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for reliable

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of reliable in a Sentence

Adjective He's not very reliable. You can't always count on him to do what he says he'll do. We can't write a report without reliable data. We need more reliable information before we can take action.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Many share a top priority: gathering reliable data on how many people suffer non-fatal firearm injuries each year. Grace Hauck, Nicquel Terry Ellis, USA TODAY, "Congress approved $25M in funding for gun safety research. Now what?," 10 Feb. 2020 Brady also lacks reliable and viable wide receiver targets outside of Julian Edelman. Globe Staff,, "Why Bill Belichick and Tom Brady should stick together," 3 Feb. 2020 Tape storage, while a reliable and viable option, was considered far too late in the development cycle to be included in any designs. Frank O’brien, Ars Technica, "A deep dive into the Apollo Guidance Computer, and the hack that saved Apollo 14," 30 Jan. 2020 Perhaps ironically and despite the decades-long and sometimes heated debate over what teaching methods work best, there are no reliable data about which methods U.S. teachers use most to teach kids. Kindel Turner Nash, The Conversation, "There’s more than one good way to teach kids how to read," 21 Jan. 2020 But reliable historic data on income and wealth are hard to come by in the developing and former Soviet-bloc countries that account for roughly 90 percent of the world’s population. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "A Peruvian Economist Challenges the Socialist Consensus on Inequality," 11 Dec. 2019 Without reliable weather data, not just the private weather industry but many others will suffer. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "The 5G Threat for Weather Satellites Is Only Growing," 25 Nov. 2019 There isn't reliable data about how often hospital alerts in Maryland are honored by paramedics. John Diedrich,, "Some busy hospitals say they must turn away ambulances. Here's how one state banned the practice," 22 Nov. 2019 To get reliable data from hair, forensic scientists previously needed DNA from skin still attached to hair follicles. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Scientists can now identify someone from a single strand of hair," 21 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some are venerable right-wing reliables like National Review, The Washington Times, or Newsmax. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Boundless Grift of Right-Wing Media Watchdogs," 4 Sep. 2019 Atleti's biggest transformation comes at the heart of their defence, as old reliables Filipe Luis, Juanfran and captain Diego Godin were released when their contracts expired., "Atlético Madrid: 6 Reasons for Los Rojiblancos Fans to Be Optimistic This Season," 19 Aug. 2019 The general public now, however, would see Mr. Trump’s generals as the reliables, the dependables, the sophisticates of the administration. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "Let Calm and Cool Trump ‘Fire and Fury’," 10 Aug. 2017 North Korea's weekend launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile further demonstrated that the country is consistently trying to come up with new, better ways to keep its nuclear deterrent reliable and safe from attack. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "What's Different About North Korea's Latest Missile Test," 13 Feb. 2017 Also submitted for our hilarity are such reliables as the pot-smoking old lady and the elaborate cake that will never reach the finale intact. Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, "Review: At ‘Table 19,’ Random Wedding Guests Straining to Laugh," 2 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reliable.' 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 reliable


1569, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1852, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for reliable

Time Traveler

The first known use of reliable was in 1569

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Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reliable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for reliable


How to pronounce reliable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of reliable

: able to be trusted to do or provide what is needed : able to be relied on
: able to be believed : likely to be true or correct


re·​li·​able | \ ri-ˈlī-ə-bəl How to pronounce reliable (audio) \

Kids Definition of reliable

: fit to be trusted or relied on: dependable reliable information

Other Words from reliable

reliably \ -​blē \ adverb


re·​li·​able | \ ri-ˈlī-ə-bəl How to pronounce reliable (audio) \

Medical Definition of reliable

: giving the same result on successive trials a reliable psychological test

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