English

Definition of plumb verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

plumb

 verb
verb
BrE BrE//plʌm//
 
; NAmE NAmE//plʌm//
 
Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they plumb
BrE BrE//plʌm//
 
; NAmE NAmE//plʌm//
 
he / she / it plumbs
BrE BrE//plʌmz//
 
; NAmE NAmE//plʌmz//
 
past simple plumbed
BrE BrE//plʌmd//
 
; NAmE NAmE//plʌmd//
 
past participle plumbed
BrE BrE//plʌmd//
 
; NAmE NAmE//plʌmd//
 
-ing form plumbing
BrE BrE//ˈplʌmɪŋ//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈplʌmɪŋ//
 
 
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  • plumb something (literary) to try to understand or succeed in understanding something mysterious synonym fathom She spent her life plumbing the mysteries of the human psyche. He had clearly plumbed the general sense of the message.
  • Word Originverb Middle English (originally in the sense ‘sounding lead’): via Old French from Latin plumbum ‘lead’.

    plumb something in.

    late 19th cent.: back-formation from plumber.
    Idioms
    plumb the depths of something
     
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    to be or to experience an extreme example of something unpleasant His latest novel plumbs the depths of horror and violence. It was at that stage in her life when she plumbed the depths of despair. The team's poor performances plumbed new depths last night when they lost 10–2.
    Phrasal Verbsplumb somethingin
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: plumb