Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Word of the Year is...

plumb

[pluhm] /plʌm/
noun
1.
a small mass of lead or other heavy material, as that suspended by a line and used to measure the depth of water or to ascertain a vertical line.
Compare plumb line.
adjective, Also, plum.
2.
true according to a plumb line perpendicular.
3.
Informal. downright or absolute.
adverb, Also, plum.
4.
in a perpendicular or vertical direction.
5.
exactly, precisely, or directly.
6.
Informal. completely or absolutely:
She was plumb mad. You're plumb right.
verb (used with object)
7.
to test or adjust by a plumb line.
8.
to make vertical.
9.
Shipbuilding. horn (def 32).
10.
to sound with or as with a plumb line.
11.
to measure (depth) by sounding.
12.
to examine closely in order to discover or understand:
to plumb someone's thoughts.
13.
to seal with lead.
14.
to weight with lead.
15.
to provide (a house, building, apartment, etc.) with plumbing.
verb (used without object)
16.
to work as a plumber.
Idioms
17.
out of / off plumb, not corresponding to the perpendicular; out of true.
Origin of plumb
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English plumbe, probably < Anglo-French *plombe < Vulgar Latin *plumba, for Latin plumbum lead
Related forms
plumbable, adjective
plumbless, adjective
plumbness, noun
replumb, verb (used with object)
unplumb, adjective
Can be confused
plum, plumb.
Synonyms
2. vertical, straight, square.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for plumbed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And now that he had had his way and plumbed the depths of her emotions and desires he had a higher estimate of her personality.

    The "Genius" Theodore Dreiser
  • The same would be true of the passage if we plumbed the middle.

    West Wind Drift George Barr McCutcheon
  • The Laird of Tyee had thought he had long since plumbed the heights and depths of the joys and sorrows of fatherhood.

    Kindred of the Dust Peter B. Kyne
  • With this consummation in view, he plumbed every depth of human nature.

    Pan Knut Hamsun
  • Aunt Maria often talked as if she had plumbed the greatest depths to which human nature can sink.

    Notwithstanding Mary Cholmondeley
  • He plumbed his brain for a story to tell them or a little play to act out.

    The Lost Wagon James Arthur Kjelgaard
  • I think that I plumbed the depths between sixteen and a half and twenty-two.

    A Student in Arms Donald Hankey
  • She had not as yet plumbed the depths of his social ignorance.

    Why Joan? Eleanor Mercein Kelly
  • He felt that "it" had plumbed the minds of all on board and chosen him to take over and lead the others.

    Unthinkable Roger Phillips Graham
British Dictionary definitions for plumbed

plumb

/plʌm/
noun
1.
a weight, usually of lead, suspended at the end of a line and used to determine water depth or verticality
2.
the perpendicular position of a freely suspended plumb line (esp in the phrases out of plumb, off plumb)
adjective
3.
(prenominal) (informal, mainly US) (intensifier): a plumb nuisance
adverb
4.
in a vertical or perpendicular line
5.
(informal, mainly US) (intensifier): plumb stupid
6.
(informal) exactly; precisely (also in the phrase plumb on)
verb
7.
(transitive) often foll by up. to test the alignment of or adjust to the vertical with a plumb line
8.
(transitive) to undergo or experience (the worst extremes of misery, sadness, etc): to plumb the depths of despair
9.
(transitive) to understand or master (something obscure): to plumb a mystery
10.
to connect or join (a device such as a tap) to a water pipe or drainage system
Derived Forms
plumbable, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French plomb (unattested) lead line, from Old French plon lead, from Latin plumbum lead
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for plumbed

plumb

n.

"lead hung on a string to show the vertical line," early 14c., from Old French *plombe, plomee "sounding lead," and directly from Late Latin *plumba, originally plural of Latin plumbum "lead (the metal), lead ball; pipe; pencil," a word of unknown origin, related to Greek molybdos "lead" (dialectal bolimos) and perhaps from an extinct Mediterranean language, perhaps Iberian.

v.

early 15c., "to sink" (like lead), from plumb (n.). Meaning "take soundings with a plumb" is first recorded 1560s; figurative sense of "to get to the bottom of" is from 1590s. Related: Plumbed; plumbing.

adj.

"perpendicular, vertical," mid-15c., from plumb (n.). The notion of "exact measurement" led to extended sense of "completely, downright" (1748), sometimes spelled plump, plum, or plunk.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for plumbed

plumb

adverb

Completely; entirely; stone: What he said was plumb silly

[1748+; fr notions of exact extent and precision associated with the plumb bob or sailor's plumb line (for measuring depth of water), ultimately fr Latin plumbum, ''lead'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for plumb

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for plumbed

14
19
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for plumbed