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[ri-lahy-uh-buh l] /rɪˈlaɪ ə bəl/
that may be relied on or trusted; dependable in achievement, accuracy, honesty, etc.:
reliable information.
Origin of reliable
1560-70; rely + -able
Related forms
reliability, reliableness, noun
reliably, adverb
nonreliable, adjective
nonreliableness, noun
nonreliably, adverb
quasi-reliable, adjective
quasi-reliably, adverb
ultrareliable, adjective
ultrareliablely, adverb
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.
undependable, questionable, deceitful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for reliable
  • Fin-soup demand is driving millions of shark deaths, according to what researchers say are the first reliable estimates.
  • Found in cool, coastal waters throughout the world, there is no reliable data on the great white's population.
  • Winter may be a more reliable period for sightseeing.
  • Our fish farm supplies a new, reliable revenue source that will ultimately pay for the full-time groundskeeper we've hired.
  • Adding renewable energy to the grid and making it more reliable means adding new transmission lines.
  • Despite her reputed powers of seduction, there is no reliable depiction of her face.
  • My skin, which seemed so reliable, has been deceiving me my entire life.
  • When this happens, animals gather around reliable, permanent water sources.
  • If your measures are not reliable, it doesn't matter how good and advanced your models and tests are.
  • It covers some topics that are difficult to find in other reference works, and can point students to good, reliable sources.
British Dictionary definitions for reliable


able to be trusted; predictable or dependable
Derived Forms
reliability, (rare) reliableness, noun
reliably, 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
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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
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