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Plausible vs. Possible: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 11, 2023
"Plausible" means something seems reasonable or believable, while "Possible" means something can occur or be done, regardless of its likelihood.

Key Differences

While both "Plausible" and "Possible" discuss the realm of what can be, they approach it from different angles. Plausible is used to describe something that appears to be true or reasonable based on surface-level information. It indicates believability. On the other hand, Possible simply denotes that something can happen, regardless of its credibility or likelihood.
Consider a scenario in detective fiction: a hypothesis might be Plausible if it aligns with the evidence at hand, suggesting it could be a reasonable explanation. Meanwhile, numerous scenarios might be Possible—from the mundane to the wild—but not all of them would seem likely or believable given the context.
The word Plausible often comes into play when evaluating the credibility of a statement or scenario. If someone presents an argument, and it seems reasonable or convincing at first glance, it's described as plausible. Possible, however, is a broader term. It encompasses anything that can happen, regardless of how probable it is. Every plausible scenario is possible, but not every possible scenario is plausible.
In essence, while Plausible deals with the semblance of truth and believability, Possible addresses the capability or feasibility of an event or action. Something might be Possible in a technical sense, but it may not be Plausible based on the evidence or context available.
In the realm of decision-making, Plausible options are those that seem reasonable or likely given the current information, whereas Possible options include all conceivable routes of action, even if some seem unlikely or far-fetched.

Comparison Chart


Seems reasonable or believable
Can occur or be done


More specific, focused on credibility
Broader, encompasses all that can happen


All plausible scenarios are possible
Not all possible scenarios are plausible

Usage in Context

Often used in evaluating statements or theories
Describes capability or feasibility

Associated with

Believability and likelihood
Capability and potentiality

Plausible and Possible Definitions


Seeming reasonable or probable.
His alibi sounded plausible to the investigators.


That which may exist or happen.
Every possible solution was considered.


Persuasive or believable.
His story was consistent and plausible.


Able to be done or achieved.
With hard work, success is possible.


Likely or probable in appearance.
It's plausible that the weather will improve by tomorrow.


Having an indicated potential.
A possible threat loomed on the horizon.


Giving a fair appearance of truth.
She gave a plausible excuse for her tardiness.


Not certain but likely.
He is a possible candidate for the job.


Superficially fair, reasonable, or valuable.
His argument was plausible but lacked evidence.


Capable of happening, existing, or being true without contradicting proven facts, laws, or circumstances
Is it possible to move faster than the speed of light?.


Seemingly or apparently valid, likely, or acceptable; credible
A plausible excuse.


Capable of becoming or of being made to be so; potential
Possible suspects in the case.
A possible site for the new capital.


Persuasive or ingratiating, especially in an effort to deceive.


Capable of occurring or being done in accordance with something specified. Used with the superlative
You'll get the best possible care at this hospital.


Seemingly or apparently valid, likely, or acceptable; conceivably true or likely.
A plausible excuse


Capable of happening but of uncertain likelihood
It is possible that you might feel some discomfort after the procedure.


Obtaining approbation; specifically pleasing; apparently right; specious.
A plausible pretext; plausible manners; a plausible delusion


Is it possible to enter the gallery at this hour?.


(obsolete) Worthy of being applauded; praiseworthy; commendable; ready.


Able but not certain to happen; neither inevitable nor impossible.
Rain tomorrow is possible, but I wouldn't bet on it.
It's not just possible, it's probable that there will be rain tomorrow.


Worthy of being applauded; praiseworthy; commendable; ready.


(comparable) Capable of being done or achieved; feasible.
It's possible for anyone to learn to pay the bagpipes.


Obtaining approbation; specifically pleasing; apparently right; specious; as, a plausible pretext; plausible manners; a plausible delusion.


Being considered, e.g. for a position.
Jones and Smith are both possible for the opening in sales.


Using specious arguments or discourse; as, a plausible speaker.


Apparently valid, likely, plausible.


Apparently reasonable and valid


A possible one.


Likely but not certain to be or become true or real;
A likely result
He foresaw a probable loss


A possible choice, notably someone being considered for a position.
Jones is a possible for the new opening in sales.


Within the realm of credibility;
Not a very likely excuse
A plausible story


(rare) A particular event that may happen.


Appearing to merit belief or acceptance;
A credible witness
A plausible story


Capable of existing or occurring, or of being conceived or thought of; able to happen; capable of being done; not contrary to the nature of things; - sometimes used to express extreme improbability; barely able to be, or to come to pass; as, possibly he is honest, as it is possible that Judas meant no wrong.
With God all things are possible.


Something that can be done;
Politics is the art of the possible


An applicant who might be suitable


Capable of happening or existing;
A breakthrough may be possible next year
Anything is possible
Warned of possible consequences


Existing in possibility;
A potential problem
Possible uses of nuclear power


Possible to conceive or imagine;
That is one possible answer


Within the limits of ability, capacity, or realization.
We will do the best possible in the given time.


Do Plausible and Possible mean the same?

No, Plausible relates to believability, while Possible denotes capability.

How does Plausible relate to probability?

Plausible scenarios often seem more probable or likely.

How can one determine if something is Plausible?

By evaluating it against available evidence or logical reasoning.

Is every future prediction Plausible?

Not all. Some might be wild guesses, making them Possible but not necessarily Plausible.

Is every Plausible thing also Possible?

Yes, if it's Plausible, it's inherently Possible.

Does Possible always mean likely?

No, Possible simply means something can happen, not necessarily that it's likely.

How does context influence Plausibility?

Context provides information that can make a statement or scenario seem more or less Plausible.

Are all possible options considered in decision-making?

Not always, often only the most Plausible ones are considered.

Can something be Possible but not Plausible?

Yes, many things might be technically Possible but not seem Plausible.

Can a fiction story be Possible?

Fiction can present scenarios that seem Possible within its universe, even if unrealistic.

Can a theory be Possible but not Plausible?

Yes, a theory might be conceivable (Possible) but not convincing (Plausible).

Is everything within the realm of science Plausible?

Not necessarily. Some scientific hypotheses may be Possible but not currently Plausible.

Why is the distinction between Plausible and Possible important?

It helps in evaluating the likelihood and credibility of scenarios or statements.

Can something be considered Plausible by some but not by others?

Yes, Plausibility can be subjective and vary based on individual perspectives.

Does Plausible always mean true?

No, Plausible means seeming true or reasonable, but it doesn't confirm truth.

How do experts determine the Plausibility of a theory?

Through evidence, peer reviews, and logical consistency.

Are all mathematical solutions Possible?

In a mathematical context, solutions are determined based on set rules, making them Possible if correct.

If an action is physically Possible, is it always Plausible?

No, physical possibility doesn't equate to something being likely or believable.

Does Possible cover every conceivable scenario?

Yes, Possible encompasses all that can be conceived or happen.

In legal contexts, is Plausible evidence enough for a conviction?

Typically, evidence must be beyond a reasonable doubt, not just Plausible.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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