The Meaning of Malleable: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of malleable? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word malleable, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word malleable mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Collins English Dictionary and American Heritage, the word malleable is an adjective that refers to something soft, pliable, and able to twist. This might be used literally to refer to a metal or other material that is capable of being extended or shaped by the pressure of rollers of the beating of a hammer, such as ductile copper, a tensile steel alloy, pliant molten glass, aluminum, gold leaf, carbon, hematite, pig iron, non-metals like leather, pure malleable iron, white irons of suitable composition, or other such malleable material with low ductility and high malleability. 

The word malleable can also be used figuratively to refer to something that is capable of adaptive change, or able to be altered or controlled by outside forces or influences. This could refer to the malleable mind of a child that changes over formative years, a timeline of ambitious infrastructure projects over the course of a decade, malleable faculty that is always changing, and more. The word malleable is four syllables – mal-le-a-ble – and the pronunciation of malleable is ma-lē-ə-bəl. The noun form of malleable is malleability. This word has six syllables – mal-le-a-bil-li-ty, and the pronunciation is ˌmalleaˈbility.

Many different languages also use words that mean malleable. You might notice that some of these words look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates. Cognates occur when two words from different languages look and sound similar, and also mean similar things. These are formed when two words have the same language of origin or root. This list of translations of malleable is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Portuguese: maleável‎
  •  Italian: malleabile‎
  •  Catalan: mal·leable‎
  •  Norwegian: bøyelig‎, fleksibel‎, smidig‎
  •  German: hämmerbar‎, schmiedbar‎, formbar‎, verformbar‎, dehnbar‎, plastisch‎, biegsam‎, biegbar‎, weich‎, geschmeidig‎, veränderbar‎, gestaltbar‎, knetbar‎
  •  Finnish: taottava‎
  •  Romanian: maleabil‎
  •  French: malléable‎
  •  Spanish: maleable‎
  •  Slovak: kujný‎
  •  Tagalog: pukpukin‎
  •  Swedish: smidbar‎
  •  Hungarian: nyújtható‎
  •  Dutch: hamerbaar‎, smeedbaar‎
  •  Czech: kujný‎
  •  Polish: kowalny‎ (masc.), kujny‎ (masc.)
  •  Russian: ко́вкий‎, пластичный‎
  •  Persian: چکش خور‎ (chakosh khor)

What is the origin of the word malleable?

According to Etymonline, the word malleable has been used since late 14c Middle English to refer to a metal that can be shaped or extended by hammering or rolling. This comes from the Old French malleable and the Medieval Latin malleabilis/Medieval Latin malleābilis and Late Latin malleābilis, from the Latin malleare/malleāre, a verb meaning to beat with a hammer and the suffixes ābilis and āre. This comes from the Latin malleus hammer and the Proto-Indo-European roots melə, mele and melh meaning to crush. Malleable has been used in a figurative sense since the 1610s (17c.) One can add the suffixes bly/ly, ness and ity in place of ble or le to make the related words malleably (adv.), malleableness (n.) and malleability (n.)

What are synonyms and antonyms of malleable?

There are a plethora of different words that a person can use in place of the word malleable. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your vocabulary and avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  extensile
  •  adaptable
  •  hanging loose
  •  springy
  •  tractile
  •  complaisant
  •  rolling with punches
  •  flexible
  •  elastic
  •  amenable
  •  bending
  •  limber
  •  go-with-the-flow
  •  acquiescent
  •  supple
  •  extensible
  •  compliant
  •  impressionable
  •  going every which way
  •  whippy
  •  yielding
  •  adjustable
  •  formable
  •  submissive
  •  stretchy
  •  tensile
  •  ductile
  •  biddable
  •  lithe
  •  flexile
  •  docile
  •  workable
  •  putty in hands
  •  like putty in hands
  •  plastic
  •  stretch
  •  variable
  •  rolls with punches
  •  pliable
  •  manageable
  •  discretionary
  •  gentle
  •  pliant
  •  spongy
  •  willowy
  •  formative
  •  transformable
  •  open
  •  moldable
  •  bendable
  •  governable
  •  tractable
  •  like putty
  •  stretchable
  •  soft

There are also a number of different words in the English language that have the opposite meaning of the word grudge. These opposite words are called antonyms. Antonyms are another great way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for malleable is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  harsh
  •  invariable
  •  inexorable
  •  static
  •  inflexible
  •  unpermissive
  •  undeviating
  •  bullheaded
  •  single-minded
  •  dead set
  •  uncompromising
  •  obdurate
  •  unrelenting
  •  exact
  •  hard-line
  •  unyielding
  •  stiff
  •  tough nut to crack
  •  definite
  •  locked in
  •  austere
  •  severe
  •  solid
  •  set in stone
  •  fixed
  •  chiseled
  •  strait-laced
  •  stringent
  •  unbreakable
  •  unchanging
  •  hard
  •  unbending
  •  incompliant
  •  changeless
  •  inelastic
  •  strict
  •  rigorous
  •  firm
  •  adamant
  •  adamantine
  •  set
  •  rigid
  •  stern
  •  intransigent
  •  determined
  •  unmoving
  •  unalterable

How can malleable be used in a sentence?

The word malleable can be used in many ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also try making flashcards or quizzes to test your knowledge. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are many different examples of malleable to get you started. 

Because he would grind his teeth on the football field, his coach suggested trying athletic mouth guards. His dentist liked the idea of custom guards, and inserted a malleable gel into his mouth that would form to his teeth as a template for the guards.

Anna and Jamie had malleable timelines for their relationships and career. They didn’t want to rush anything as they had freshly graduated from Princeton University, but they decided to go with the flow. 

The repairman used a malleable substance to fix the leak with urgency. This was the ideal material to fix it quickly. The presence of some substance was able to stop the damage from increasing with intensity on the metal of the pillar while he could go and get some malleable cast iron for a permanent fix.

The malleable children are the youth of the future. We need to make sure that we share varying opinions so they can create their own ideas. 

Overall, the word malleable means flexible or pliable. This word can be used literally or figuratively.

Sources:

  1. Malleable: Meaning, Origin, Translation | Word Sense
  2. MALLEABLE Synonyms: 26 Synonyms & Antonyms for MALLEABLE | Thesaurus 
  3. RIGID Synonyms: 63 Synonyms & Antonyms for RIGID | Thesaurus 
  4. malleable | Origin and meaning of malleable | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Malleable | Definition of Malleable | Merriam-Webster