Word of Week (WOW) – Aplomb

wow (1)

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly challenge created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link).

I’ve now been through the alphabet once, so I’m starting again with the letter A.

So, here is my WOW for this week: 





  1. Self-confidence or assurance, especially when in a demanding situation:


2. The perpendicular or vertical position:

Plum-bob suspended on a string. Author: Jim Thomas. Commons



uh-plom  [uh-pluhm]

Audio: aplomb (Quite a difference between the UK aand US pronunciations with this one.)

Part of Speech: 


Related Forms:


Word Origin:

1828, from the French aplomb (16th century) literally“perpendicularity”,  from the phrase à plomb “poised upright, balanced” –  literally “on the plumb-line,” from the Latin plumbum “(the metal) lead” of which the weight at the end of the line was made (as image above).


equanamity, calmness, collectedness, composedness, composure, cool, coolness, countenance, equilibrium, imperturbability, placidity, repose, sangfroid, self-composedness, serenity, tranquility, tranquilness


agitation, discomposure, perturbation, confusion,  doubt, uncertainty.

Use in a Sentence:

  1. Susan passed her driving test with her usual aplomb:


2. The famous artist showed aplomb when surrounded by so many reporters:


(Artist Florentijn Hofman surrounded by reporters. Shutterstock photo.)

3. The word aplomb comes from the use of a ‘plumb-line’ (with a metal weight, or ‘plumb-bob’, suspended at the end of it) to determine the verticality or depth of a building undergoing construction:

A plum-square from 'Cassell's Carpentry and Joinery'. Public Domain.
A plum-square from ‘Cassell’s Carpentry and Joinery’. Public Domain.

If you’d like to view more interesting wods, visit Heena’s

Word Treasure

33 thoughts on “Word of Week (WOW) – Aplomb

    1. That’s such a great sentence, Prospero. The image of the self-assured squirrel is excellent. We have a squirrel who visits our garden regularly every autumn. We have a walnut tree – and your sentence fits so perfectly his actions as he scurries back and forth collecting the fallen nuts.:)

      1. Actually my only interest in writing the sentence was to toy with the homophonous ‘a plum’/aplomb pair. But I’m glad you like it anyway!

      2. I know how you love to play with words, Prospero, and I love your sentences. You’re right about the interesting homophonous pair, but I couldn’t help focusing on that squirrel! It quite took me back to watching our little visitor last year. He’ll be making an appearance again soon enough.Your witty sentences are so appreciated.

    1. Thanks, Lyn (or should it be Lynz? I’ve noticed most people call you that). Aplomb isn’t a very unusual word, but I like the sound of it. But I didn’t realise it was based on the idea of a plumb-line until I looked it up. 🙂

      1. So I got it wrong, either way. I’ve been spelling Lyn with only one ‘n’! I’ll go with the ‘z’ ending from now on, like most of the others.

      2. ha ha you are funny!! My daughter when she was about 3 called me Din!! So I am used to ma, mommy, Lynn, din and many other interesting names in the middle east! Its nice of you to be so exact!!! your a dear!

      3. Well, I like the name Din, so your daughter was clever to call you that. 🙂 I’d just confuse people on yor blog if I called you that, so i’d best stick with Lynz. Catch you later… 🙂

    1. The word aplomb is still in use, though perhaps not in the ‘chatty’ kind of everyday speech. I try to pick out interesting words for this challenge, and I liked the word origins of this one. There are lots of English words that are not used too often – but you sometimes come across them in newspapers and novels. Thank you so much for reading, dombala. (Sorry if that isn’t your name.) 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, as always, Khloe. I like the sound of this word and its origins. I had no idea it was derived from the idea of a plum-lone until I looked it up. And I’ve discussed plum-bobs so often in science lessons with my students! (Plum-bob is where the word ‘plumber’ came from – a person who works fitting water pipes, which were originally made from lead, like a plum-bob.) 😀

  1. YAY! You’re going round again. Always think od aplomb as very British stiff upper lip kind of word, so interesting to hear it’s from the French.

    1. Thanks, Bekki. I always find word derivations interesting – and often surprising. I had no idea of this word’s connections with plumb lines, either, until I looked it up. I can see the link clearly now. And yes, it does sound very ‘stiff upper lip’. It isn’t a word that springs first to my mind when describing characters’ actions.

      1. Yes, the plumb line was news to me too, but as you say pretty obvious when you know that definition too.

    1. Yes, I like doing the WOWs.:) It was quite a challenge at the end of the alphabet. Most of the words I liked for X,Y and Z were ones I couldn’t illustrate well. And I enjoy finding suitable pictures to help explain the meanings.I’m glad you like it, Irina! Thank you for that. 🙂

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