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[ri-lahy-uh-buh l] /rɪˈlaɪ ə bəl/
that may be relied on or trusted; dependable in achievement, accuracy, honesty, etc.:
reliable information.
Origin of reliable
First recorded in 1560-70; rely + -able
Related forms
reliability, reliableness, noun
reliably, adverb
nonreliable, adjective
nonreliableness, noun
nonreliably, adverb
quasi-reliable, adjective
quasi-reliably, adverb
ultrareliable, adjective
ultrareliablely, adverb
trusty, authentic, consistent. Reliable, infallible, trustworthy apply to persons, objects, ideas, or information that can be depended upon with confident certainty. Reliable suggests consistent dependability of judgment, character, performance, or result: a reliable formula, judge, car, meteorologist. Infallible suggests the complete absence of error, breakdown, or poor performance: an infallible test, system, marksman. Trustworthy emphasizes the steady and honest dependability which encourages one's confidence, belief, or trust: trustworthy and accurate reports.
undependable, questionable, deceitful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for reliable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The backer was a reliable man and asked for a fair run for his money.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • The bearers of the kitchen, who were also reliable travellers, set about the cook camp.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • And Roland remained true—a reliable second string to Josie's bow.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • They were well built and reliable, so that the trade was pleased to stock and promote them.

    The Auburndale Watch Company Edwin A. Battison
  • He knows that if I am not very quick or brilliant I am fairly steady and reliable.

    The Stark Munro Letters J. Stark Munro
British Dictionary definitions for reliable


able to be trusted; predictable or dependable
Derived Forms
reliability, (rare) reliableness, noun
reliably, adverb
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
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Word Origin and History for reliable

1560s, raliabill, Scottish; see rely + -able. Not common before 1850; and sometimes execrated thereafter in Britain as an Americanism because it involves a use of -able different from its use in provable, etc., but defended (by OED, Century Dictionary, etc.) on grounds of use of the suffix in available, laughable, etc.. Related: Reliably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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