• synonyms


[uh-plom, uh-pluhm]
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  1. imperturbable self-possession, poise, or assurance.
  2. the perpendicular, or vertical, position.
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Origin of aplomb

First recorded in 1820–30, aplomb is from the French word à plomb according to the plummet, i.e., straight up and down, vertical position


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for aplomb

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • She received his bits of news with the aplomb of a resourceful commander.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Miss Milbrey disunited the chatting couple with swiftness and aplomb.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I could read as much in her narrowed eyes as she tried for aplomb with her guests.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The aplomb—why should there be a French word for an English quality?

  • Before the end of the repast he had recovered all his assurance, all his aplomb.

British Dictionary definitions for aplomb


  1. equanimity, self-confidence, or self-possession
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Word Origin

C18: from French: rectitude, uprightness, from à plomb according to the plumb line, vertically
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

Word Origin and History for aplomb


"assurance, confidence," 1828, from French aplomb (16c.), literally "perpendicularity," from phrase à plomb "poised upright, balanced," literally "on the plumb line," from Latin plumbum "(the metal) lead" (see plumb (n.)), of which the weight at the end of the line was made.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper