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plumb

[pluhm] /plʌm/
noun
1.
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.
Compare plumb line.
adjective, Also, plum.
2.
true according to a plumb line; perpendicular.
3.
Informal. downright or absolute.
adverb, Also, plum.
4.
in a perpendicular or vertical direction.
5.
exactly, precisely, or directly.
6.
Informal. completely or absolutely:
She was plumb mad. You're plumb right.
verb (used with object)
7.
to test or adjust by a plumb line.
8.
to make vertical.
9.
Shipbuilding. horn (def 31).
10.
to sound with or as with a plumb line.
11.
to measure (depth) by sounding.
12.
to examine closely in order to discover or understand:
to plumb someone's thoughts.
13.
to seal with lead.
14.
to weight with lead.
15.
to provide (a house, building, apartment, etc.) with plumbing.
verb (used without object)
16.
to work as a plumber.
Idioms
17.
out of / off plumb, not corresponding to the perpendicular; out of true.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English plumbe, probably < Anglo-French *plombe < Vulgar Latin *plumba, for Latin plumbum lead
Related forms
plumbable, adjective
plumbless, adjective
plumbness, noun
replumb, verb (used with object)
unplumb, adjective
Can be confused
plum, plumb.
Synonyms
2. vertical, straight, square.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for unplumb

plumb

/plʌm/
noun
1.
a weight, usually of lead, suspended at the end of a line and used to determine water depth or verticality
2.
the perpendicular position of a freely suspended plumb line (esp in the phrases out of plumb, off plumb)
adjective
3.
(prenominal) (informal, mainly US) (intensifier): a plumb nuisance
adverb
4.
in a vertical or perpendicular line
5.
(informal, mainly US) (intensifier): plumb stupid
6.
(informal) exactly; precisely (also in the phrase plumb on)
verb
7.
(transitive) often foll by up. to test the alignment of or adjust to the vertical with a plumb line
8.
(transitive) to undergo or experience (the worst extremes of misery, sadness, etc): to plumb the depths of despair
9.
(transitive) to understand or master (something obscure): to plumb a mystery
10.
to connect or join (a device such as a tap) to a water pipe or drainage system
Derived Forms
plumbable, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French plomb (unattested) lead line, from Old French plon lead, from Latin plumbum lead
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 unplumb

plumb

n.

"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.

v.

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.

adj.

"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for unplumb

plumb

adverb

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'']


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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