early 14c., "a mass of lead hung on a string to show the vertical line" (mid-14c. as "the metal lead"), from Old French *plombe, plomee "sounding lead," and directly from Late Latin *plumba, originally plural of Latin plumbum "lead (the metal), lead ball; pipe; pencil," a word of unknown origin; Beekes and de Vaan say it probably is unrelated to Greek molybdos "lead" (dialectal bolimos). It is perhaps a loan-word from an extinct language of the western Mediterranean (based on similarities of words in Berber and Basque). The -b was restored in English after c. 1400. Plumb-rule is attested from c. 1400.
"perpendicular, vertical, true according to a plumb-line," mid-15c., plom, from plumb (n.). As an adverb, "in a vertical direction, straight down," c. 1400. The notion of "exact measurement" led to the extended adverbial sense of "completely, downright" (1748), sometimes spelled plump, plum, or plunk.
1680s, "leaden;" 1854 in the chemistry sense of "containing lead" (especially in a low valence), from Latin plumbosus "full of lead," from plumbum (see plumb (n.)).
"leaden, heavy," 1620s, from Latin plumbeus "of or belonging to lead," from plumbum "lead" (see plumb (n.)).