Main definitions of plumb in English

: plumb1plumb2

plumb1

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Measure (the depth of a body of water):

    ‘I plumbed the depth and found the bottom of the shelf to be seven metres down’
    • ‘Forget the normal fly fishing gear if you plan a trip after these monsters; the only effective method is to plumb the depths with a trolled and heavily - weighted spinner or live bait.’
    1. 1.1[no object, with adverbial] (of water) be of a specified depth:
      ‘at its deepest the lake scarcely plumbed seven feet’
    2. 1.2 Explore or experience fully or to extremes:
      ‘she had plumbed the depths of depravity’
      • ‘Like any student, I needed to be re-oriented after plumbing the depths of academia.’
      • ‘It leaves us to plumb our own depths to discover who we really are.’
      • ‘I suppose I had been naive to think that he was making himself available to me so I could spar with him or plumb the depths of his thought processes.’
      • ‘The nineteenth-century prospector had been a rugged individual who explored wild mountains to plumb the mysteries hidden beneath.’
      • ‘These famous Rhine experiments made bold to plumb the hidden powers of the mind.’
      • ‘It's a film that plumbs the emotional depths of the women as they struggle to find meaning in their lives and stave off madness.’
      • ‘There are levels, if you'll excuse the expression, that we haven't plumbed yet in our explorations of this game system.’
      • ‘For inspiration, he often plumbs his own everyday experiences.’
      • ‘He plumbs the depths without fear.’
      • ‘The reader is left to plumb other, random, occurrences.’
      • ‘Their willingness to plumb new depths surprised even me.’
      • ‘You can look back and say, well this did have to be that agonising or that intense in order to plumb the depths, in order to reach the dark night of the soul.’
      • ‘While its approach is still fairly general, its articles plumb somewhat deeper depths.’
      • ‘However, the attempted character assassination of Margo plumbs new depths and raises wider questions.’
      • ‘His interpretations of Beethoven are remarkably vigorous, plumbing the depths of the darker later sonatas while retaining a strong hint of the vigour of early Beethoven.’
      • ‘The latest study plumbs new depths of absurdity.’
      • ‘But I sure wouldn't want to plumb the depth of the man's character or his confidence without actually being out there and spending some time with him.’
      • ‘In one day, we had plumbed the depths and scaled the heights, and gone some way towards rediscovering our own city.’
      • ‘He seeks to plumb the subtle sources of change on all those fronts.’
      • ‘The Professor could go on, but doesn't want to spoil the fun readers will have at plumbing the depths of prevailing educational idiocy for themselves.’
      explore, probe, delve into, search, examine, investigate, scrutinize, inspect, sound out, go into, understand, fathom, get to the bottom of, penetrate, unravel
      find, reach the lowest possible level, reach the lowest point, get down to the bottom, reach the nadir, experience the worst extremes, reach rock bottom
      View synonyms
  • 2Test (an upright surface) to determine the vertical:

    ‘they are valuable aids in plumbing the frames and keeping the side of the ship fair’
    • ‘Raise the short wall sections into place, plumb them as you have done previously, and secure the corners.’
    • ‘Then plumb them with a level and nail the brackets to the floor.’
    • ‘If so, you only need to install the casing on the opposite side after the jamb is plumbed, squared, and secured in the opening.’
    • ‘Place the panel snug into the corner as possible with a level on the opposite vertical edge to plumb the panel.’
    • ‘Once the post has been set into the base, it can be moved a little bit from side to side parallel with the two raised sides in order to simplify plumbing the post.’

noun

  • A ball of lead or other heavy object attached to the end of a line for finding the depth of water or determining the vertical on an upright surface.

    • ‘Holding a target plumb is a very important worker skill when locating a layout point.’
    • ‘He traces a line in white paint along the wall beyond the leaves, then drops a plumb from a cord stretched between two metal poles posted on either side of the tree.’

adverb

  • 1informal Exactly:

    ‘trading opportunities plumb in the centre of central Europe’
    • ‘Collymore decides that he wants to take a leg-bye and is struck plumb in front off an inswinger.’
    • ‘The batsman plays and misses, and is hit on the pads plumb in front of the wicket.’
    • ‘In fact, Lyle had a 79 to finish plumb last, the only player in the field to be above 300 for the 72 holes.’
    right, exactly, precisely, directly, dead, straight, without interruption
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North American [as submodifier] Extremely or completely:
      ‘they must both be plumb crazy’
      • ‘So, needless to say, just about everyone was plumb out of breath when they stopped a hundred yards from their target.’
      • ‘Its plumb crazy at a time when we are trying to recruit more staff to cut the teaching profession's workload.’
      • ‘For example, somebody whom you just plumb don't like is naturally likely to be just as hard to like on the Interwebnet.’
      • ‘Hank was plumb out of breath helping him up, but was very happy to see that Ted was all right.’
      • ‘So I drove up to Manor Park Plaza to use the A.B.M., because I was plumb out of cash.’
      • ‘It's important to forgive yourself if you're just too plumb tired to get in a workout.’
      • ‘He was plumb tuckered out and very glad Charlie had talked him out of the trip to the lower pastures.’
      • ‘That stuff made you plumb crazy, as I remember it.’
      utterly, absolutely, completely, downright, totally, entirely, wholly, quite, altogether, thoroughly, stark
      View synonyms
  • 2archaic Vertically:

    ‘drapery fell from their human forms plumb down’
    • ‘He kept his eye on it and required adjustments to be made from time to time. He explained that the steel went up in two stages, firstly the first and second floors were erected and erected plumb.’
    • ‘You need to be able to hang your wallpaper plumb, even if the corners are not.’
    vertically, perpendicularly, straight up, straight up and down
    View synonyms

adjective

  • 1Vertical:

    ‘ensure that the skirting is straight and plumb’
    • ‘There was no significant deterioration of the surface of the brick; no evidence of falling bricks, and the walls were plumb.’
    • ‘Finish surfaces to a true plane, to correct line and level, with all angles and corners to a right angle unless specified otherwise, and with walls and reveals plumb and square.’
    • ‘If it is not plumb, a little more attention is needed.’
    • ‘As you set each post, it is especially important that the posts remain plumb, regardless of how much the ground slopes.’
    • ‘Insert tapered shims under the cabinet, as needed, until a level shows that it is plumb and vertical.’
    • ‘If the wall ties are adequate, the brickwork should be rebuilt plumb.’
    • ‘In carpenter's heaven, all surfaces would be flat and straight, all vertical elements would be plumb and horizontal ones level, and all corners would be exact right angles.’
    • ‘If the frame is not perfectly plumb or level, the door won't open or close correctly.’
    • ‘Snap a plumb chalkline down the center of the stud to establish the position of the edge of the panel.’
    • ‘If the instrument is set up directly on a control point, carefully check to be sure that the instrument is plumb over the control point and that the control points have not been disturbed.’
    • ‘Apply the boards in a stair-step pattern and be sure they are plumb.’
    • ‘Frequent use of a hand level will help keep the wall plumb and the courses level.’
    • ‘Even though part of the beauty of straw bale houses is their handmade unevenness, build plumb and square.’
    • ‘Make sure that the posts are plumb and the rail is parallel to the steps.’
    • ‘Retrofit windows are installed into existing frames, and if those frames are not plumb or square, there may be problems.’
    • ‘Next place a level against the edge of the panel to check that it is plumb, making certain your panel is in a correct position before nailing it into the studs.’
    • ‘Use a hand level frequently to keep the wall plumb and the rows of brick level.’
    • ‘Do not cut at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree plumb in the stand, and reduces the amount of water available to the tree.’
    • ‘The problem is that the corners are seldom true plumb or vertical, and this is where the difficulty lies.’
    • ‘Be sure the rough stud at the door opening is plumb.’
    vertical, perpendicular, straight
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Cricket (of the wicket) level; true.
      • ‘On the other side one of my friends lost his bet that England would win, so his stance is the umpire should be thanked for giving Browne a life as he was plumb lbw.’
      • ‘He caught Gilchrist plumb in front with the second delivery of the day to restore his hold over one of the game's most dangerous batsmen.’
      • ‘Gilly was given not out when he was plumb LBW and then cut loose to set up a comfortable Australian victory.’
      • ‘The Indians had worked out special strategies for the explosive Sri Lankan and they were thrilled to see his back with the total being 28 when he was plumb in front of the wicket playing across.’
      • ‘Kemp was plumb leg before to his first delivery.’

Phrases

  • out of plumb

    • Not exactly vertical:

      ‘the towers are inclined, from four to ten feet out of plumb’
      • ‘If you find the doors' frames are too far out of plumb to fix by moving the hinges, a drastic, though not impossible, solution is to remove and re-hang the doorframes.’
      • ‘The capitals that were molded at the plant became out of plumb by 1/2 inch during transport.’
      • ‘There is evidence that the initial portion of the brick wall was treated as a sample wall and eventually removed and reconstructed when it was determined that the first soldier course bricks were badly out of plumb.’
      • ‘Joining two materials together usually leaves an uneven gap between them because one of the surfaces is out of plumb, is not level, or is irregularly shaped.’
      • ‘The construction looks rickety and a bit out of plumb.’
      • ‘And his engine and its bearings, they were all out of plumb.’
      • ‘The design criteria called for the towers to be out of plumb for a maximum of 1 / 3,000 of the tower height, and that requirement was met without difficulty.’
      • ‘Also the walls are out of plumb, the ceilings are not level, and the crown mouldings need fixing.’
      • ‘A common, and drastic, mistake in hanging wallpaper is to hang it out of plumb.’
      • ‘The cathedral's main tower was tilting so much - 2.7 degrees out of plumb, in engineering terms - that a large earthquake could cause it to collapse.’

Origin

Middle English (originally in the sense ‘sounding lead’): via Old French from Latin plumbum lead.

Pronunciation:

plumb

/plʌm/

Main definitions of plumb in English

: plumb1plumb2

plumb2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]plumb something in
British
  • 1 Install an appliance such as a bath, toilet, or washing machine and connect to water and drainage pipes:

    ‘he had plumbed in a second-hand washing machine’
    • ‘Once all the water and air systems have been plumbed in and the exhaust system and electronic and electrical connectors added, the engine is fired up.’
    • ‘It was obvious that, at some stage, this sink had been plumbed in.’
    • ‘TV programmes and books try to persuade us that we, whoever we are, can make over scrubby lawns, erect decking, build pergolas, plumb in water features, and construct a little Blenheim in a rectangle of twenty by thirty feet.’
    • ‘Install a small electric water heater for heat and plumb it into the existing heater core, or use a small ceramic electric space heater.’
    • ‘‘I had a flood in my kitchen after they fitted it as they had not plumbed the fittings in.’’
    • ‘Quick update - just went to start plumbing in the kitchen, only to find that we've not got the right bits (I'll spare the details) so it's had to be put on hold.’
    • ‘Still only another couple of days and I can look forward to cooking on gas again when the gas fitter plumbs in the new hob.’
    • ‘‘Let's say that you have just bought a washing machine but you're having difficulty plumbing it in.’’
    install, put in, fit, put in place, set in place
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Install and connect water and drainage pipes in (a building or room):
      ‘the kitchen is plumbed for a washing machine’
      • ‘The room is also plumbed for a washing machine and is vented for a dryer.’
      • ‘The adjoining utility room is plumbed for a washing machine and has a built-in storage cupboard.’
      • ‘There will also be plumbed utility rooms in the three-bedroom homes.’
      • ‘The tiled utility room is plumbed for washer/dryer and houses the gas-fired boiler, which can control heating in individual zoned areas throughout the house.’
      • ‘The room is plumbed for a sink unit and dishwasher, although it has been left unfurnished.’
      • ‘A guest toilet is off the back of the hall; this room is also plumbed for a washing machine and dryer.’
      • ‘The front of the property features a lawn area and parking for two to three cars in the driveway, while a garage is plumbed for utilities.’
      • ‘A utility room is plumbed for a washing machine and dryer.’
      • ‘A large utility room is plumbed for all appliances.’
      • ‘A separate utility room is plumbed for a washer/dryer.’
      • ‘Stone and glass surround the dining area, while the utility room is plumbed for a washing machine and dryer.’
      • ‘A wide timber deck provides an ideal spot for outdoor entertaining while a large garden shed is plumbed for a washing machine.’
      • ‘The room is plumbed for both a washing machine and dishwasher.’
      • ‘The boathouse is plumbed for running water and also has electric heating.’
      • ‘The house is built on a series of six interconnecting platforms and has been plumbed for water and wired for electricity.’
      • ‘The floor is laid in terracotta tiles, the room is plumbed for a dishwasher and there are a number of fitted wall and floor units.’
      • ‘A small utility room is plumbed for a washer-dryer.’
      • ‘The utility room is plumbed for electrical appliances and also has some fitted storage units and a door to the side entrance.’
      • ‘Leading off from the kitchen is a downstairs cloakroom and utility room which is plumbed for appliances.’
      • ‘The utility room is plumbed for a dishwasher and washing machine with a tiled splash back.’

Origin

Late 19th century (in the sense ‘work as a plumber’): back-formation from plumber.

Pronunciation:

plumb

/plʌm/