1 : capable of being extended or shaped by beating with a hammer or by the pressure of rollers
2 a : capable of being altered or controlled by outside forces or influences
b : having a capacity for adaptive change
Did You Know?
There is a hint about the origins of malleable in its first definition. The earliest uses of the word, which first appeared in English in the 14th century, referred primarily to metals that could be reshaped by beating with a hammer. The Middle English word malliable comes to us from Medieval Latin malleabilis, which in turn derives from the Latin verb malleare, meaning "to hammer." Malleare itself was created from the Latin word for "hammer": malleus. If you have guessed that maul and mallet, other English words for specific types of hammers, can also be traced back to malleus, you have hit the nail on the head.
"Lead is insidiously useful. It's hard but malleable, is relatively common, melts at a low enough temperature to be workable, and doesn't rust." — Ben Paynter, Wired, June 2016
"[T]he role of First Lady is … a role that is surprisingly malleable, shaped by the personality, style, and interests (or lack thereof) of the person occupying it." — Jonathan Van Meter, Vogue, 11 Nov. 2016
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of malleable: SLTIPCA.VIEW THE ANSWER
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