Dismissible is defined by Vocabulary.com as:

capable of being removed or taken away or dismissed

Dismiss is (from Merriam Webster):

to permit or cause to leave

In my context, I am trying to express that a character thinks a notion he’s had is worthy of being dismissed. He thinks the idea is absurd. Aside from just sucking it up and spelling out ‘worthy of dismissal’, which I just don’t really like the sound of, I thought I might say, ‘justifiably dismissible’. However, that ‘capable of being’ part of the definition has me unsure if I can use the word this way. Might it come across that I’m trying to say it should be capable of being dismissed or in some other way that isn’t what I’m looking for?

And here’s how I used the phrase:

He believed the notion was justifiably dismissible to begin with.

  • It's fine but we are not supposed to edit. to dismiss a notion, sure.
    – Lambie
    Oct 10, 2019 at 22:22
  • 2
    @Lambie Sorry, but what do you mean by the ‘edit’ part?
    – MooNieu
    Oct 10, 2019 at 23:04
  • 1
    If admissible is admissible, so is dismissible. The author praises Schiff's use of parody and calls the Republican outrage "overwrought," "disingenuous" and "easily dismissible." Tucson Weekly, Oct 08. tucsonweekly.com/TheRange/archives/2019/10/08/…
    – Kris
    Oct 11, 2019 at 10:36
  • I mean basically fix or correct text. @Kris What a great find! :)
    – Lambie
    Oct 11, 2019 at 14:26
  • @Lambie That wasn’t what I was looking for. I just figured I should show how I used the phrase. Too much time in the SWR section, I guess.
    – MooNieu
    Oct 11, 2019 at 23:33

2 Answers 2


You are using the phrase correctly. The definition you've quoted is just too narrow.

Dismissible redirects to dismiss in the dictionary, and it shows the following as its 3rd definition:


a. To stop considering; rid one's mind of; dispel: dismissed all thoughts of running for office.

b. To refuse to accept or recognize; reject: dismissed the claim as highly improbable.

You are saying the character believes the notion to capable of being rejected with good reason.

You could also say:

He justifiably believed the idea to be dismissible.

Capable of in your quoted definition just implies that it can be done (but doesn't HAVE to be done).

In other words, inherent to the use of the word dismissible is the notion that it's an option to dismiss it. As opposed to dismissed, past tense, that it already has been dismissed.

It would change the meaning if you said:

He believed the idea to be justifiably dismissed.

This would mean that he was convinced it had already been done and with good reason.


Surely anything can be (justifiably or unjustifiably [whatever the deterministic phrase justifiable subjectively means] dismissed.

Therefore, ‘dismissible’ Seems to me just nonsensical.

But, I’m a Brit!

However, all language is living and evolving. I, unlike many Brits, who think we own the Queen’s English, realise, for example, U.S. English fairly regularly may use quaint Older English phrases such as ‘tardy’.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to ELU. Can you give some explanation as to why you don't like the term dismissible in this way? On this site we typically expect some references or a minimum of expanded explanation.
    – David M
    Oct 11, 2019 at 3:04
  • Because I may dismiss you or not, or I may dismiss an idea/suggestion or not as lacking in foundation, or according to law (statute or 'common law') a judge may or may not dismiss an appeal or petition. Therefore, anything is potentially dismissible (or not). It therefore adds absolutely nothing in terms of meaning, so it is simply redundant and unnecessary. Oct 12, 2019 at 4:33
  • In other words, in its adjectival form it is a nonsense Oct 12, 2019 at 4:37
  • @Neil James Douglas: Yes, anything ‘can’ be dismissed or not and anything ‘can’ be justifiably or unjustifiably dismissible, but by adding ‘justifiably’ before the word I am making it clear that the character believes the idea is ‘worthy of being dismissed’, that he thinks himself justified in dismissing it, instead of simply using ‘dismissible’ by itself, which implies only that he is capable of dismissing it, not that it truly deserves to be dismissed.
    – MooNieu
    Oct 14, 2019 at 8:40

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