- 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.
- true according to a plumb line perpendicular.
- Informal. downright or absolute.
- in a perpendicular or vertical direction.
- exactly, precisely, or directly.
- Informal. completely or absolutely: She was plumb mad. You're plumb right.
- to test or adjust by a plumb line.
- to make vertical.
- Shipbuilding. horn(def 32).
- to sound with or as with a plumb line.
- to measure (depth) by sounding.
- to examine closely in order to discover or understand: to plumb someone's thoughts.
- to seal with lead.
- to weight with lead.
- to provide (a house, building, apartment, etc.) with plumbing.
- to work as a plumber.
- out of/off plumb, not corresponding to the perpendicular; out of true.
Origin of plumb
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for plumbed
Few writers have plumbed a region's dark history so thoroughly or profoundly.Great Weekend Reads
The Daily Beast
February 4, 2011
To the travelers, no other sight could so have plumbed the depths that lay beneath the bridge.The Inca Emerald
He had plumbed the depths of poverty, and his body was a wreck.The Angel
Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
But we have not yet plumbed the depths of mythic degeneration.An Introduction to Mythology
The same would be true of the passage if we plumbed the middle.West Wind Drift
George Barr McCutcheon
With this consummation in view, he plumbed every depth of human nature.Pan
- a weight, usually of lead, suspended at the end of a line and used to determine water depth or verticality
- the perpendicular position of a freely suspended plumb line (esp in the phrases out of plumb, off plumb)
- (prenominal) informal, mainly US (intensifier)a plumb nuisance
- in a vertical or perpendicular line
- informal, mainly US (intensifier)plumb stupid
- informal exactly; precisely (also in the phrase plumb on)
- (tr often foll by up) to test the alignment of or adjust to the vertical with a plumb line
- (tr) to undergo or experience (the worst extremes of misery, sadness, etc)to plumb the depths of despair
- (tr) to understand or master (something obscure)to plumb a mystery
- to connect or join (a device such as a tap) to a water pipe or drainage system
Word Origin and History for plumbed
"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.
"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.