Definition of plum in English:

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Pronunciation: /plʌm/


1An oval fleshy fruit which is purple, reddish, or yellow when ripe and contains a flattish pointed stone.
Example sentences
  • He would discover in his own way the lacy texture of a cantaloupe or the dusky purple of a ripe plum.
  • Brown rot can affect plums and other stone fruits.
  • Stone fruit includes plums, peaches, nectarines and cherries - all those delicious things that we import from other parts of the country around Christmas time.
1.1 [usually with modifier] West Indian A small edible fruit from any of a number of trees.
Example sentences
  • Buying paradise plum, icy mint, sky juice, suck-suck or busta through the fence.
2 (also plum tree) The deciduous tree which bears plums.
  • Several species in the genus Prunus, family Rosaceae, in particular P. domestica.
Example sentences
  • Everard sat silently against the plum tree, his favorite tree, his favorite spot in all of Dustin Manor's expansive grounds.
  • If you have space in your yard, do plant a plum tree - your family will thank you for it.
  • Spring was finally feeling about him and the plum tree was blooming, buds of white and lavender and pink sprawling out in pastel against the blue of the sky.
3 [mass noun] A reddish-purple colour: a pure silk shirt in shades of cream and soft plum [count noun]: rosy pinks, rich coppers, and deep plums are the big fashion news [as modifier]: a plum blazer
More example sentences
  • Because these plants are seed grown, the flower colour ranges from white to deep plum, lavender and blush, some spotted, others speckled or plain.
  • It had cream painted walls with the odd panel of dark plum red colour, and huge canvases of gold paintings.
  • Modern hybrids come in every colour from white and apricot to deep plum.
4 [usually as modifier] informal A thing, typically a job, considered to be highly desirable: he landed a plum assistant producer’s job
More example sentences
  • He favors free trade and giving firms from donor nations the first crack at plum investments.
  • Julia Haworth took acting lessons to combat shyness… and went on to land a plum role in the nation's favourite TV soap.
  • Throughout that era, territory was the most coveted of resources, the plum prize in any power struggle, the mark of distinction between the victors and the defeated.
excellent, very good, wonderful, marvellous, choice, best, prize, first-class
informal great, terrific, cushy
British informal plummy


chiefly US
variant spelling of plumb1. the helicopter crashed plum on the cabins
More example sentences
  • Greg and I plum forgot to back things up just in case.
  • Both were meant to show cutting-edge technology, but now they are extremely campy, outdated relics of yesteryear and just a plum bad idea.
  • I got so lost in trying to guess what every feather and coloured band on his body denoted that I plum missed the camp being set up, and nearly didn't notice Doc on his way back over.



have a plum in one's mouth

British Have an accent thought typical of the English upper classes: an affable dilettante with a plum in his mouth
More example sentences
  • His idea of inhabiting the character is to talk like he has a plum in his mouth.
  • ‘He got stuck in on the rugby field but even then he spoke as though he had a plum in his mouth,’ recalled Robin.
  • He reckons he speaks with a plum in his mouth.

like a ripe plum (or ripe plums)

Used to convey that something can be obtained with little or no effort: the country is likely to fall into the enemy’s hands like a ripe plum
More example sentences
  • In actuality, however, it was one of the components of Karl Marx's dual strategy for world revolution: Debase the language and the money, and capitalism will fall like a ripe plum.
  • He disposes of the ruler so that the throne falls into his hand like a ripe plum.


Old English plūme, from medieval Latin pruna, from Latin prunum (see prune1).

  • Latin prunum is the source of both plum and prune (Late Middle English), a plum preserved by drying. The change from pr- to pl- is not an unusual one. The ‘l’ and ‘r’ are made in very similar parts of the mouth, and some languages do not distinguish between the two sounds. Plum pudding (mid 17th century) was originally made with plums. The use of plum to refer to something highly desirable, ‘the pick of the bunch’, probably arose from the idea of picking the tastiest bits out of a plum pudding. Upper-class people are sometimes said to have a plum in the mouth, or to speak with a plummy voice. The idea of having a plum in the mouth goes right back to the 1530s, though at first it meant that the speech was indistinct rather than posh.

Words that rhyme with plum

become, benumb, Brum, bum, chum, crumb, drum, glum, gum, ho-hum, hum, Kara Kum, lum, mum, numb, plumb, Rhum, rhumb, rum, scrum, scum, slum, some, strum, stum, succumb, sum, swum, thrum, thumb, tum, yum-yum

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: plum

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