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.
adjective, Also, .
true according to a plumb line perpendicular.
Informal. downright or absolute.
adverb, Also, .
in a perpendicular or vertical direction.
exactly, precisely, or directly.
Informal. completely or absolutely:
She was plumb mad. You’re plumb right.
verb (used with object)
to test or adjust by a plumb line.
to make vertical.
Shipbuilding. (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 .
verb (used without object)
to work as a plumber.
out of / off plumb, not corresponding to the perpendicular; out of true.
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)
(transitive) often foll by up. to test the alignment of or adjust to the vertical with a plumb line
(transitive) to undergo or experience (the worst extremes of misery, sadness, etc): to plumb the depths of despair
(transitive) 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
“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.
early 15c., “to sink” (like lead), from plumb (n.). Meaning “take soundings with a plumb” is first recorded 1560s; figurative sense of “to get to the bottom of” is from 1590s. Related: Plumbed; plumbing.
“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.
Completely; entirely; stone: What he said was plumb silly
[1748+; fr notions of exact extent and precision associated with the plumb bob or sailor’s plumb line (for measuring depth of water), ultimately fr Latin plumbum, ”lead”]
[pluhm-buh s] /ˈplʌm bəs/ adjective, Chemistry. 1. containing bivalent lead. /ˈplʌmbəs/ adjective 1. of or containing lead in the divalent state adj. 1680s, “leaden;” 1854 in chemistry sense, “containing lead” (especially in a low valence), from Latin plumbosus “full of lead,” from plumbum (see plumb (n.)).
noun 1. a device for determining perpendicularity, consisting of a narrow board with a plumb line and bob suspended from an upper edge. noun 1. a plumb line attached to a narrow board, used by builders, surveyors, etc
noun, Chemistry. 1. .
[pluhm-buh m] /ˈplʌm bəm/ noun, Chemistry. 1. 2 (def 1). /ˈplʌmbəm/ noun 1. an obsolete name for lead2 plumbum plum·bum (plŭm’bəm) n. The metallic element lead.