Printable Version
Pronunciation: plaw-zê-bêl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Seeming reasonable, having the appearance of truth, apparently valid, credible, as 'a plausible theory'. 2. Believable, deceptively persuasive, ostensibly sincere and honest, as 'a plausible candidate for the job'.

Notes: Plausible has a large, wide-ranging family. The adverb is plausibly and the noun, plausibility. A related adjective seldom heard or read is plausive "appreciative". Plaudit(s), used mostly in the plural, is often used as a synonym of "praise, appreciation", though it may be used in the sense of "round of applause"

In Play: "Seeming reasonable" is one sense of today's Good Word, particularly if the statement involves deception: "Anita Job thought that being mugged was a plausible excuse for skipping work for a week." When applied to people, it has a slightly different sense: "Robin Banks thought Penny Wise a plausible investment broker, until she absconded with all his money."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a remake of Latin plausibilis "praiseworthy, deserving applause", from plausus, the past participle and noun plaudere "to clap, beat, applaud". We have no idea where this Latin word came from, but we do know where it went. It went into the making of applaud, borrowed via French from Latin applaudere "to clap", comprising ad "to(ward)" + plaudere "clap, applaud". Latin had a variant of plaudere, spelled plodere with the same meaning. However, explodere came to mean "hoot off, hiss off". Explodere is made up of ex "(away) from, off (of)" + plodere "to clap". When English adopted this word, it originally meant "to reject, discard" as to 'explode a theory'. This meaning slipped to what it is today: "blow up outward". "Outward" did I say? What would an inward explosion be then, if not an implosion?

Dr. Goodword,

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