What is plausible?

What Does plausible Mean

The etymology of the term plausible leads us to the Latin plausibilis , an adjective that comes from the verb plaudere (which can be translated as “clap” ). For this reason, the first meaning of the concept recognized by the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) refers to what deserves to receive applause .

The most common use of the notion today, however, is associated with what is acceptable, valid or credible . For example: "The defendant offered a plausible explanation and the investigators decided to release him" , "It is not plausible that someone who claims to earn a thousand pesos per month has a Ferrari and lives in a mansion" , "I decided to accept his proposal because he gave me several reasons plausible about the advisability of developing the project ” .

Ultimately, it can be said that something plausible is what sounds logical and, therefore, can be believed or accepted. The opposite of the plausible would be the incredible or the implausible .
Suppose a worker is late for his job and his boss asks him for an explanation. The employee can assure that he was traveling by train to work when an accident occurred, which is why he was delayed. Such justification for the delay is plausible. On the other hand, if the worker points out that, when he was about to enter the company , he was kidnapped by aliens who, half an hour later, returned him to Earth, the argument is not plausible.
It is important to note that the qualification of a fact or a theory as plausible does not indicate its veracity, but rather that what is analyzed is probable but still remains in the field of what is possible.
As is often the case with many pairs of similar-looking terms, many people confuse plausible and possible and use them interchangeably. Having read the previous paragraphs, which include, among other explanations, the meanings of the RAE dictionary, it goes without saying that they are not synonyms; however, since they are words that can appear in the same contexts , it is difficult to eliminate the error.
This confusion is also fueled by another misconception: that plausible is a "cultured" or "higher" version of the term possible , something that leads some people to lean towards its use to appear to be a higher intellectual level. Far from noticing the humiliation they are undergoing by saying that "something is plausible" when in fact they mean "possible", they abuse this and other semantic errors with pride, from the rooftops.

However, like all linguistic confusion, there are reasons behind it that, once analyzed, should enrich our knowledge of the language and avoid future mistakes. In more than one case, the use of these terms can occur in the same sentence to express an opinion or qualification, as occurs when a hypothesis is studied.
A hypothesis can be plausible if it makes a convincing, admissible assumption that is acceptable to the naked eye, even before performing the necessary tests to confirm its correctness or veracity; on the other hand, it would not be correct to say that the hypothesis is possible, since, in any case, this adjective should be used to qualify its verification through an experiment, for example.
In short, a series of statements are plausible if they express acceptable, admissible facts or concepts; the veracity of the latter, for its part, is what can be classified as possible or impossible. Let's look at a last example to clearly illustrate the differences: given the excess of cars in a city, the idea of making flying vehicles to free the streets is plausible, since it is recommendable ; however, carrying it out immediately is not possible, since the costs would be too high and the necessary technology is not yet available.

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