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Origin of reliable

First recorded in 1560–70; rely + -able
Related formsre·li·a·bil·i·ty, re·li·a·ble·ness, nounre·li·a·bly, adverbnon·re·li·a·ble, adjectivenon·re·li·a·ble·ness, nounnon·re·li·a·bly, adverbqua·si-re·li·a·ble, adjectivequa·si-re·li·a·bly, adverbul·tra·re·li·a·ble, adjectiveul·tra·re·li·a·ble·ly, adverb

Synonyms for reliable

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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.

Antonyms for reliable Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for reliable

Contemporary Examples of reliable

Historical Examples of reliable

  • The backer was a reliable man and asked for a fair run for his money.


    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.

  • He knows that if I am not very quick or brilliant I am fairly steady and reliable.

British Dictionary definitions for reliable


  1. able to be trusted; predictable or dependable
Derived Formsreliability or rare reliableness, nounreliably, 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

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