French ballet master Jean-Étienne Despréaux used the term in 1806 to refer to the dynamic balancing that is fundamental to all well-executed ballet positions and movements. In 1887, German dance theorist Friedrich Albert Zorn analogized aplomb in dancers as "the sureness of touch of the pianist".
Friedrich Zorn described aplomb in terms of both its outward appearance and its underlying technique, saying that "[a]plomb is the absolute safety in rising and falling back which results from the perpendicular attitude of the upper body and the artistic placing of the feet. By means of aplomb the dancer acquires a precision and an elegance which ensure the successful execution of every foot-movement, however artistic and difficult, and thereby creates a pleasing and a satisfactory impression upon the observer." According to Agrippina Vaganova, aplomb relies on balance and on feeling and controlling the muscular sensations within the spine.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
"assurance, confidence," 1828, from French aplomb (16c.), literally "perpendicularity," from phrase à plomb "poised upright, balanced," literally "on the plumb line," from Latin plumbum "(the metal) lead" (see plumb (n.)), of which the weight at the end of the line was made.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Aplomb \A`plomb"\, n. [F., lit. perpendicularity; ? to + plomb lead. See Plumb.] Assurance of manner or of action; self-possession.
n. self-confidence; poise; composure.
Usage examples of "aplomb".
Granon Bekke, the Warrior Mage assigned to secure all known Ladders, welcomed Cailet to the wreckage with as much aplomb as if vaulted halls and velvet chairs lay within.
And so, Centaine had arranged this meeting, and now she watched her grand-daughter acquit herself with all the aplomb that she had expected of her.
But there was no suggestion that the head should remain covered once we had it safety in the whaleboat, and with what ceremony and aplomb I could muster in the streaming tropical rain, I unveiled it for Chubby and Angelo.
Harriet thought for a minute that he was going off for a while to deliver things, but then her hair stood on end as she watched Ole Golly, with great agility and even more aplomb, hop onto the delivery cart.
And yes, Bowser had swept through that affair with remarkable aplomb, his oration and body language flawless, his case-law memory astonishing, his logic unassailable.
Hamlin piece had knocked him slappy, and here he was listening critically to the resonances, noting the subtle recurvings of the contours, doing the whole art-appreciation number with great aplomb.
The sight of the Earl and Griggs holding up a groggy Tregar gave Edmond momentary pause, but he quickly regained his aplomb.
Een echte Parisienne had Lili haar genoemd, Lili, die niet door dat glanzende vernis, dat luchtige aplomb heenzag.
I watched them play once for a short while, after the statement and counterstatement, and both handled the cue with professional aplomb.
I realize he was not conciliating, but you have handled far touchier situations with more aplomb.
The well-drilled crews handled the galleys with aplomb, scooting around the huge, high-sided, cumbersome galleons like so many waterbugs, discharging their breechloaders again and again to fearsome effect into their unmissable targets, while the return fire howled and hummed uselessly high over their heads.
People made copies for purposes both monumental and banal, and reconverged them with equal aplomb.
And my medium-length, arseless waistless figure, corrugated ribcage and bandy legs gang up to dispel any hint of aplomb.
At cockail parties, soirees, premieres, and so on, she will usually be accompanied by one or other of her parents, but after a few months she will begin to arrive alone, still a rather hesitant figure, slightly ill at ease about the aggressive sexiness of her catsuits and leotards, continually on edge about her appearance, until, during her second year of social immersion, she will be widely celebrated for her aplomb, verbal asperity, and daring and expertise in bed.
The effect of the hospitality room was to ensure that many a politician or bureaucrat, whose dissemblings and incompetence had been revealed only minutes before on prime-time television, soon felt, after a couple of Vincent's gins, that he had carried off the ordeal with the aplomb of a David Frostand was raring to come back for a second round.