Word of the Day : May 1, 2014

aplomb

play
noun uh-PLAHM

Definition

: complete and confident composure or self-assurance : poise

Did You Know?

In the 19th century, English speakers borrowed "aplomb," meaning "composure," from French. "Aplomb" can also mean "perpendicularity" in French and comes from the phrase "a plomb," meaning "perpendicularly" or literally "according to the plummet." A plummet is a lead weight that is attached to a line and used to determine vertical alignment. Not surprisingly, "aplomb" and English words like "plumber" and the verb "plumb" ("to measure depth" and "to explore critically and minutely") ultimately trace back to the Latin word for lead, "plumbum."


Examples

On her first day as a teacher, June handled herself with aplomb, keeping the class engaged and focused.

"The ample chamber orchestra under Boyagian played with zest and aplomb." - From a concert review by Zachary Lewis in The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), March 31, 2014



Word Family Quiz

Unscramble the following letters to create a relative of "aplomb" that can mean "to fall or jump suddenly from a high place" or "to fall or drop suddenly in amount, value, etc."? g l e n u p The answer is …


Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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