Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A weight on the end of a line, used to determine water depth.
  • n. A weight on the end of a line, used especially by masons and carpenters to establish a true vertical.
  • adv. In a vertical or perpendicular line.
  • adv. Informal Directly; squarely: fell plumb in the middle of the puddle.
  • adv. Informal Utterly; completely: plumb worn out. See Note at right.
  • adj. Exactly vertical. See Synonyms at vertical.
  • adj. Informal Utter; absolute; sheer: a plumb fool.
  • transitive v. To determine the depth of with a plumb; sound.
  • transitive v. To test the verticality or alignment of with a plumb.
  • transitive v. To straighten or make perpendicular: plumb up the wall.
  • transitive v. To examine closely or deeply; probe: "Shallow ideas are plumbed and discarded” ( Gilbert Highet).
  • transitive v. To seal with lead.
  • intransitive v. To work as a plumber.
  • idiom out of Not vertical.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. truly vertical
  • adj. Describing an LBW where the batsman is hit on the pads directly in front of his wicket and should be given out.
  • adv. In a vertical direction.
  • adv. Squarely, directly; completely.
  • n. A little mass of lead, or the like, attached to a line, and used by builders, etc., to indicate a vertical direction.
  • n. A weight on the end of a long line, used by sailors to determine the depth of water.
  • v. To determine the depth, generally of a liquid; to sound.
  • v. To attach to a water supply and drain.
  • v. To think about or explore in depth, to get to the bottom of, especially to plumb the depths of.
  • v. To use a plumb bob as a measuring or aligning tool.
  • v. To accurately align vertically or horizontally.
  • v. To seal something with lead.
  • v. To work as a plumber.
  • v. To fall or sink like a plummet.
  • v. To trace a road or track; to follow it to its end.
  • v. To position vertically above or below.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Perpendicular; vertical; conforming the direction of a line attached to a plumb.
  • adv. In a plumb direction; perpendicularly.
  • n. A little mass or weight of lead, or the like, attached to a line, and used by builders, etc., to indicate a vertical direction; a plummet; a plumb bob. See Plumb line, below.
  • transitive v. To adjust by a plumb line; to cause to be perpendicular.
  • transitive v. To sound with a plumb or plummet, as the depth of water; hence, to examine by test; to ascertain the depth, quality, dimension, etc.; to sound; to fathom; to test.
  • transitive v. To seal with lead.
  • transitive v. To supply, as a building, with a system of plumbing.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • An obsolete spelling of plum.
  • True according to a plumb-line; vertical.
  • Of persons, upright in character or conduct; thoroughgoing.
  • In a vertical direction; in a line perpendicular to the plane of the horizon; straight down.
  • Exactly; to a nicety; completely: as, he hit the target plumb in the bull's-eye.
  • Downright; entirely; altogether.
  • To adjust by a plumb-line; set in a vertical position: as, to plumb a wall or a building.
  • To sound with or as with a plummet, as the depth of water.
  • To ascertain the measure, dimensions, capacity, or the like, of; test-
  • To supply, as a building, with lead pipes for water, sewage, etc.
  • In plumbing, to seal an opening by closing it with solder or other soft metal.
  • To coincide in direction with the plumb-line; be vertically above or below.
  • n. A mass of lead attached to a line, used to test the perpendicularity of walls, etc.; a plummet.
  • n. The position of a plumb or plummet when freely suspended; the vertical or perpendicular.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. weight with lead
  • adv. exactly
  • v. measure the depth of something
  • adv. conforming to the direction of a plumb line
  • adj. exactly vertical
  • v. examine thoroughly and in great depth
  • n. the metal bob of a plumb line
  • adv. completely; used as intensifiers
  • v. adjust with a plumb line so as to make vertical

Etymologies

Middle English, lead, a plumb, from Old French plomb, from Latin plumbum, lead.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French *plombe, from Latin plumba (plural of plumbum). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • His own dexterity in catching the phrase plumb in the middle gave him a thrill of excitement.

    The Years

  • Silently, but with unerring certainty, something small, round, and deadly, fell plumb from the library ceiling to where the settle had formerly stood against the hearthstone.

    The Filigree Ball

  • The dirt airstrip cut into a grove of black cottonwoods was adequate without being what you could call plumb level or arrow straight.

    Fool’s Paradise

  • References: la poubelle (f) = garbage can; plum (just in case, and for the French readers on this list, "plum" is English and the informal of "plumb" -- nothing to do with the juicy fruit) = completely; la clé (f) = key; le clavier (m) = keyboard

    French Word-A-Day:

  • LOHO: Meaning the plumb is the vertical, perfect 90 degrees, and level is the horizontal.

    CNN Transcript Apr 16, 2005

  • Thus we say that the plumb is a symbol of rectitude of conduct.

    The Symbolism of Freemasonry

  • The plumb is a symbol of rectitude of conduct, and inculcates that integrity of life and undeviating course of moral uprightness which can alone distinguish the good and just man.

    The Symbolism of Freemasonry

  • Small Creek on the L.S. called plumb Creek at abt.

    Original journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806

  • Among their fruits are many kinds of plumbs; one like a _wheaten_ plumb is wholesome and savoury; likewise a black one, as large as a horse plumb, which is much esteemed, and has an aromatic flavour.

    A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 08

  • The tools typically come as small weights that are suspended from a point using a string known as a plumb line.

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Comments

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  • the skeleton within a skeleton is out of plumb

    January 25, 2011

  • Mrs Howe was acted by the springs I set at work: her daughter was moving for me, and yet imagined herself plumb against me...

    Lovelace to Belford, Clarissa by Samuel Richardson

    December 10, 2007

  • Molly looks out of plumb.
    Joyce, Ulysses, 8

    January 3, 2007

  • The fruition of beauty is no chance of miss or hit—it is as inevitable as life—it is exact and plumb as gravitation.
    Whitman, Preface 1855

    December 9, 2006