Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Plausible


The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is beltane. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Plausible means “seemingly fair, reasonable, or valuable but often not so” or “appearing worthy of belief.”

// One problem with the horror movie is that the plot is barely plausible—there was no good reason for the kids to enter the abandoned mansion to begin with.

PLAUSIBLE in Context

“The West Midlands is a region that is no stranger to myths. From the bustling motorway of the M5 to the quiet, secluded woods of Cannock Chase—you will hear tales of abnormal happenings. … Some explanations are offered as to why such spooky events may be taking place. But others appear to be a mystery with no plausible explanation.” — Jamie Brassington, Birmingham Live (UK), 16 Apr. 2022

Did You Know?

Put your hands together for plausible, a word with a sonorous history. Today the word usually means “reasonable” or “believable,” but its origins lie in the sensory realm, rather than that of the mind. In fact, plausible comes to us from the Latin adjective plausibilis, meaning “worthy of applause,” which in turn derives from the verb plaudere, meaning “to applaud or clap.” Other plaudere words include applaudplaudit (the earliest meaning of which was “a round of applause”), and explode (from the Latin explodere, meaning “to drive off the stage by clapping”). Will the evolution of plaudere continue? Quite plausibly, and to that we say “Bravo.”

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