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

Essential Meaning of reliable

1 : able to be trusted to do or provide what is needed : able to be relied on a reliable car a reliable source of safe drinking water [=a way to get safe drinking water every time you need it] He's not very reliable. You can't always count on him to do what he says he'll do.
2 : able to be believed : likely to be true or correct a reliable witness It's a rumor, but I heard it from a reliable source. [=someone who is likely to have accurate information] See More ExamplesWe can't write a report without reliable data. We need more reliable information before we can take action.Hide

Full 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 reliable (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 Some devices are more reliable than others, and the readings can be skewed by a variety of factors, including where the monitors are placed. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 11 Oct. 2021 The same year, United Nations human-rights investigators said that there was reliable information that torture was practiced widely in the country. Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, 6 Oct. 2021 Their results showed that the tests were generally more reliable when someone had noticeable symptoms and during the first week of symptoms. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, 28 Sep. 2021 Despite being more reliable, PCR tests are slower than rapid tests, taking 24 to 48 hours to provide results. Jade Yan,, 22 Sep. 2021 Biometrics seems to be an easy solution, as fingers or eyeballs are reliable ways of authenticating yourself. Kevin Korte, Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 Psychologists using tiny sample sizes that could not be expected to yield reliable information about the effects of psychological interventions. John Sakaluk, Scientific American, 14 Sep. 2021 The daughter of Mexican farmworkers, Jeffers is the founder of Colectivo Árbol, a nonprofit created to help communicate reliable information to Hispanic and farmworker communities across Central Florida. Juan Carlos Chavez,, 3 Sep. 2021 Like the other community efforts in Oregon, the Tiger Team approaches vaccination hesitancy with grace, offering reliable information that is ultimately up to individuals to accept or not. oregonlive, 3 Sep. 2021 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, 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., 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, 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, 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, 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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Dictionary Entries Near reliable

reliability coefficient



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Statistics for reliable

Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Reliable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for reliable


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

More from Merriam-Webster on reliable

Nglish: Translation of reliable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reliable for Arabic Speakers


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