\ ˈpləm How to pronounce plumb (audio) \

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



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


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



Definition of plumb (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : exactly vertical or true

Choose the Right Synonym for plumb


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 Set the new prehung entry door into the opening from the outside (D), check it for plumb with a 4-ft. level on all sides, then tap shims between the doorframe and rough opening. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 28 Feb. 2021 That doesn’t mean an end to Shipt’s distinctive green - but the introduction of secondary colors such as plumb, yellow and teal. William Thornton |, al, 6 Feb. 2020 The Gallery of Kings—the line of statues above the three massive doorways—was almost a foot (.3 meters) out of plumb. Andrew Tallon, National Geographic, 16 Apr. 2019 In the olden days, woodworkers needed a range of measuring tools, plumbs and levels. Alexandra Samuel, WSJ, 14 Dec. 2018 The toppling tower inclined slowly to about fifteen feet out of plumb., 19 Mar. 2018 Hold each post plumb and drive nails through the anchors into the wood. Rick Peters, Popular Mechanics, 1 May 2016 Thankfully the technology used today has advanced beyond dangling plumb lines over the side of the ship. Kyle Frischkorn, Smithsonian, 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,, 10 May 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The underlying narrative that came with the Montgomery hire was that team president Cam Neely and Sweeney expected Cassidy to plumb more out of the kiddie pipeline — particularly college and junior prospects. Globe Staff,, 21 July 2022 Warren ultimately chose not to plumb those 2018 controversies for resolution. Michael Cavna, Washington Post, 2 July 2022 Mitchell built a career, and changed music, with her devastatingly poetic ability to plumb pain and emerge with strength and beauty, to acknowledge disillusionment but never surrender to it. Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2022 In the cellphone age, immigrants and refugees plumb the internet and contact earlier migrants through WhatsApp. Doug Struck, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 July 2022 The eight winning stories plumb the airstrikes and their aftermath, from decision-making protocols to official post-strike evaluations to distillations of various errors. Erik Wemple, Washington Post, 20 May 2022 Even so, there’s fertile thematic ground to plumb here, and together with co-writers Maud Ameline and Sophie Fillières, Maury goes all in. Manuel Betancourt, Variety, 1 Mar. 2022 There will be time aplenty to plumb the West’s misjudgment and mishandling of Vladimir Putin up to now. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, 24 Feb. 2022 The film doesn’t shy from attempting to plumb the seemingly bottomless depths of Hawk’s motivational wellspring to invent and perfect skateboarding tricks. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Objectivity is different: the necessary effort, always doomed to fall short, of rendering reality exactly, like a carpenter striving for plumb, level, and square. George Packer, The Atlantic, 6 Sep. 2022 Hold the weight plumb under your shoulder and next to your hip on your standing-leg side. Esther Smith, Outside Online, 22 Sep. 2021 Furniture dealers Bruce Glickman and Wilson Henley, for instance, used a backdrop of high-shine gray paint (Benjamin Moore’s Dragon’s Breath) to offset a plumb-colored chair in their Connecticut cottage. Kelsey Mulvey, ELLE Decor, 19 July 2022 Hayward had been ensconced as a coach at the University of California, a plumb position, when the lure of Oregon fly-fishing brought him north. oregonlive, 8 July 2022 Season 1 ended with Harper choosing her boss Eric Tao (Ken Leung) over Sara Dhadwal (Priyanga Burford), who wanted to change Pierpoint's toxic culture, in order to land a plumb full-time gig. Alamin Yohannes,, 16 June 2022 Inspectors determined 78% of headstones and niche coves at the Birdeye cemetery were installed in proper height, plumb and alignment, falling short of the 90% target. Will Langhorne, Arkansas Online, 29 May 2022 Work involves use of hand and power tools, plumb bobs, levels, wedges, dogs, or turnbuckles., al, 20 Feb. 2022 Taste: Oranges provide a brightness, plums plumb fruity depths, milk chocolate accounts for the richness and texture, while the strong smoky bottom layer is a combination of white pepper and soot that becomes medicinal. Felipe Schrieberg, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of plumb


14th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plumb


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

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Time Traveler for plumb

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

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Cite this Entry

“Plumb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for plumb


\ ˈpləm How to pronounce plumb (audio) \

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


plumbed; plumbing

Kids Definition of plumb (Entry 2 of 3)

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



Kids Definition of plumb (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : exactly straight up and down
2 : completely I plumb forgot.

More from Merriam-Webster on plumb

Nglish: Translation of plumb for Spanish Speakers


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