The Difference Between ‘Credulous’ and ‘Credible’

reliable describe a person or thing that can reasonably be trusted (such as in “a credible story” or “a reliable witness”) or something good enough to be effective (” give a credible impression of her mother”). gullible usually describes someone who is willing to believe something despite insufficient evidence (as in “the gullible people who have been scammed”) or something that demonstrates this willingness (as in “reportable news”) confidence in far-fetched claims”). reliable often describe what is commendable (such as in “a feat hard to achieve by reliable skill”).

Latin verb trustwhich means “to believe or to trust,” is the origin of many English words related to belief and trust, including creed, reputation, credoAnd Credit.

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The original story of this handsome cat is unreliable.

Of course, trust works in two ways, and perhaps that is why some trust-words whose origins are easily confused with each other. For example, reliable And gullible.

Reliable usage

reliable describe a person or thing (such as a statement or story) that is likely to be believed or worthy of being believed:

The investigation revealed that the woman reliable, recording her harrowing conversations about the incident with others soon after. — Collen Shalby, Los Angeles TimesMay 13, 2022

Dearman cross-checks Rogers asking if he thinks Wallace is a reliable witness. Rogers says he found her reliable because she was the only person in the room at the time. — Prescott Stokes III, AL.com (Alabama), June 18, 2017

Much has been written about the history of the Negroni, most reliable The story follows an Italian count of Negroni who, in 1919, asked the bartender at Caffe Casoni to enhance his Americano (Campari, vermouth and soda) by substituting gin for soda. — Mrs. Carrie Allan, washington articlesJuly 7, 2017

Furthermore, there is no reliable evidence shows that Fridays that fall on the 13th of the month represent unlucky days for the US Navy. — Joe Nickel, skeptical investigationSeptember/October 2004

reliable is a synonym of seems reasonable and of course related to amazinga word that is used frequently to describe something that is so incredible or unbelievable (as in “an extraordinary feat” or “an extraordinary coincidence”), and also what is simply impressive or stunning (as in “an incredible sunset”).

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How to use reliably

gullible, meanwhile, usually describes someone who is willing to believe something despite the lack of sufficient evidence to justify that belief. It also describes the things that show that lack of insight:

Even gullible reporters will think twice before running with another Fusion lead. — Kimberley A. Strassel, The Wall Street JournalMay 12, 2022

Second, spreading hot rumors about the elixir before there is proof will lead to gullible People take it without knowing about proper dosage or considering toxic interactions. —Ryan Cooper, WeekAugust 27, 2021

This gullible passion for prophetic knowledge helps explain the presence of five larger-than-life female figures—sibyl girls in Greek and Roman mythology—in Michelangelo’s fresco. The sibyls were fortune tellers, women who lived in sacred temples and predicted the future in inspired madness, often using cryptic expressions such as riddles and abbreviations. King Ross, Michelangelo and the ceiling of the Pope2003

gullible there is a close synonym in gulliblea word that, despite rumors to the contrary, is actually in the dictionary.

How to use reliably

A third word thrown into this mix is reliablethat, like reliablecan also mean “reliable”:

“How many times?” Harry asked, with a reliable imitate politeness. JK Rowling, harry potter and the Phoenix2003

The show of force and how quickly the MPD mobilized shows that investigators are following proven leads. reliable one day but crash the next day. Greg Coy, Fox13Memphis.comJune 15, 2017

But reliable more often used to describe something good enough to deserve respect or praise:

And, with help from reliable Supporting the performances and slick design, director Susan Marie Rhea’s nimble staging showcases the script’s obvious humor. — washington articlesApril 12, 2022

He played, Erica said, with “great passion, great brio” and, if not genius, at least with reliable skill—an astounding feat for someone with almost no musical background who, at the age of forty-two, taught himself to play. — Oliver Sacks, New YorkersJuly 23, 2007

Overlap between ‘Reliable’ and ‘Trustworthy’

Because English likes to make things complicated, reliable also is sometimes used to describe something worthy of praise or esteem—or, that is at least good enough to be effective:

hack didn’t spend too much time showing us Deborah’s series, but Smart and the writers did a reliable the job of making jokes sounds old-fashioned but not entirely terrible. — Jen Chaney, VultureMay 12, 2022

By the age of six, he could sketch a reliable and expressive humanoid, a skill that came to him as easily as repeating a tune after one listening. With crayons and sheets of paper, he’s gone. — Laney Salisbury et al., Source2009

This is not surprising given the welcoming atmosphere, the politeness, the rare competence of the kitchen, with the familiar Little Italy Italian menu (I had a delicious pasta dish and clam sauce there once). , and leaving smiling), and the style of the restaurant. reliable wine list. — Mark Bitman, New York TimesJune 26, 2002

Both words can be used to describe things that, rather than being trusted, deserve credit, the kind we refer to when we say “She was recognized for her contributions.” So if you are going to say that reliable can be combined with reliablewe’d say it’s a reliable theory.

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Categories: Usage Notes
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