\ə-ˈpläm, -ˈpləm \

Definition of aplomb 

: complete and confident composure or self-assurance : poise She played several roles with equal aplomb.

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Choose the Right Synonym for aplomb

confidence, assurance, self-possession, aplomb mean a state of mind or a manner marked by easy coolness and freedom from uncertainty, diffidence, or embarrassment. confidence stresses faith in oneself and one's powers without any suggestion of conceit or arrogance. the confidence that comes from long experience assurance carries a stronger implication of certainty and may suggest arrogance or lack of objectivity in assessing one's own powers. handled the cross-examination with complete assurance self-possession implies an ease or coolness under stress that reflects perfect self-control and command of one's powers. answered the insolent question with complete self-possession aplomb implies a manifest self-possession in trying or challenging situations. handled the reporters with great aplomb

Did You Know?

In the 19th century, English speakers borrowed aplomb, meaning "composure," from French. "Aplomb" can also mean "perpendicularity" in French and comes from the phrase a plomb, meaning "perpendicularly or literally "according to the plummet." A plummet is a lead weight that is attached to a line and used to determine vertical alignment. Not surprisingly, "aplomb" and English words like "plumber" and the verb "plumb" ("to measure depth" and "to explore critically and minutely") ultimately trace back to the Latin word for lead, "plumbum."

Examples of aplomb in a Sentence

In "The Most Famous Man in America," Applegate, a Ph.D. in American studies from Yale, tells this grand story with aplomb, intelligence and a sure feel for historical context. — Michael Kazin, New York Times Book Review, 16 July 2006 Stefan Soltesz conducts the excellent chorus and orchestra with aplomb, and television director Brian Large does his usual exemplary job. — Alan Wagner, Opera News, November 2001 During a script conference recounted in the New Yorker piece, Ley fielded a variety of questions with striking aplomb that sometimes verged on arrogance. — Frank Kuznik, Air & Space, April/May 1995 He showed great aplomb in dealing with the reporters. you've handled a difficult situation with perfect aplomb
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Recent Examples on the Web

Wearing these styles with aplomb is like executing the triple axel of fashion: high level of difficulty, significant risk of failure, tremendous bragging rights if accomplished. Robin Givhan, The Seattle Times, "Are designers trolling us with ‘ugly’ fashion — or is it us?," 6 Aug. 2018 Inside Francesco’s two-story house, whimsy and taste balance each other with aplomb. Maria Shollenbarger, ELLE Decor, "An Italian Design Firm Transforms Discreet-but-Luxe Kitchens with a Timeless Florentine Aesthetic," 18 Oct. 2018 But her first year in the royal spotlight proves Meghan will handle every new change with aplomb. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Meghan Markle's Life Has Changed in the Past Year," 25 Sep. 2018 The Willard felt secure and not shaky as the footing got loose and handled the big rocks that showed up later with aplomb. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "PM Approved: The Raleigh Willard 4 Gravel Bike," 21 Sep. 2018 Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa showed aplomb, especially when saving a dangerous cross looking for Jorgensen and a one-on-one chance by Thomas Delaney. Afp, chicagotribune.com, "Denmark upend Mexico before heading to World Cup," 9 June 2018 Steel Vengeance flies through its massive wood structure with aplomb, twisting and turning in and out of it for a dizzying, disorienting ride. Arthur Levine, USA TODAY, "Cedar Point: New Steel Vengeance coaster smooths out a Mean Streak," 4 May 2018 For an on-point example, look to Margot Robbie, who individualized a new romantic moment with characteristic aplomb. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Margot Robbie Rules the Red Carpet With This Romantic Hair Trend," 12 Jan. 2018 Wet Bus traveled faster, its tight cast pouncing on recurring jokes and characters with aplomb. Steve Heisler, Chicago Reader, "The two improv teams in Oh Hell Yeah demonstrate that timing is everything," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aplomb.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aplomb

1818, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for aplomb

French, literally, perpendicularity, from Middle French, from a plomb, literally, according to the plummet

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Last Updated

26 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for aplomb

The first known use of aplomb was in 1818

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More Definitions for aplomb



English Language Learners Definition of aplomb

: confidence and skill shown especially in a difficult situation


\ə-ˈpläm \

Kids Definition of aplomb

: confidence and skill shown especially in a difficult situation He handled the questions with great aplomb.

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More from Merriam-Webster on aplomb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aplomb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aplomb

Spanish Central: Translation of aplomb

Nglish: Translation of aplomb for Spanish Speakers

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