Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun \ˈplät\

Simple Definition of plot

  • : an area of land that has been measured and is considered as a unit

  • : a usually small piece of land that is used for a particular purpose

  • : a series of events that form the story in a novel, movie, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of plot

  1. 1 a :  a small area of planted ground <a vegetable plot> b :  a small piece of land in a cemetery c :  a measured piece of land :  lot

  2. 2 :  ground plan, plat

  3. 3 :  the plan or main story (as of a movie or literary work)

  4. 4 [perhaps back-formation from complot] :  a secret plan for accomplishing a usually evil or unlawful end :  intrigue

  5. 5 :  a graphic representation (as a chart)


play \-ləs\ adjective



Examples of plot in a sentence

  1. Her books are page-turners, and yet there is more going on in them than just the mechanics of a clever plot… —Robin McKinley New York Times Book Review, 17 May 1987

  2. … as he stood before the great dripping department store which now occupied the big plot of ground where once had stood both the Amberson Hotel and the Amberson Opera House. —Booth Tarkington, The Magnificent Ambersons, 1918

  3. When I returned with the pistol the table had been cleared, and Holmes was engaged in his favourite occupation of scraping upon his violin. “The plot thickens,” he said, as I entered… —Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet, 1887

  4. The plots are selling for $15,000 per acre.

  5. They just bought a 12-acre plot of land.

  6. The book's plot revolves around a woman who is searching for her missing sister.

  7. The movie has a weak plot.

  8. Police uncovered a plot to assassinate the prime minister.

  9. The prime minister was the target of an assassination plot.

Origin and Etymology of plot

Middle English, from Old English

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of plot

plot, intrigue, machination, conspiracy, cabal mean a plan secretly devised to accomplish an evil or treacherous end. plot implies careful foresight in planning a complex scheme <an assassination plot>. intrigue suggests secret underhanded maneuvering in an atmosphere of duplicity <backstairs intrigue>. machination implies a contriving of annoyances, injuries, or evils by indirect means <the machinations of a party boss>. conspiracy implies a secret agreement among several people usually involving treason or great treachery <a conspiracy to fix prices>. cabal typically applies to political intrigue involving persons of some eminence <a cabal among powerful senators>.

synonyms see in addition plan

Rhymes with plot

aught, baht, blot, bot, clot, cot, dot, ghat, grot, hot, jot, khat, knot, kyat, lot, lotte, Mott, motte, naught, not, pot, rot, scot, Scot, shot, skat, slot, snot, sot, spot, squat, stot, swat, swot, tot, trot, watt, Watt, what, wot, yacht



verb \ˈplät\

Simple Definition of plot

  • : to plan secretly to do something usually illegal or harmful

  • : to plan (something)

  • : to mark (something, such as a location or path) on a map, graph, chart, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of plot



  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to make a plot, map, or plan of b :  to mark or note on or as if on a map or chart

  3. 2 :  to lay out in plots(see 1plot)

  4. 3 a :  to locate (a point) by means of coordinates b :  to locate (a curve) by plotted points c :  to represent (an equation) by means of a curve so constructed

  5. 4 :  to plan or contrive especially secretly

  6. 5 :  to invent or devise the plot of (as a movie or a literary work)

  7. intransitive verb
  8. 1 :  to form a plot :  scheme

  9. 2 :  to be located by means of coordinates <the data plot at a single point>

Examples of plot in a sentence

  1. While men plotted wars or devised philosophies, women were confined within their homes … —Barbara Ehrenreich, Ms., Winter 2007

  2. Would-be nation builders plotted Italy's unification from the south and the north. —David Van Biema, Time, 4 Sept. 2000

  3. They plotted to steal the painting.

  4. She spent her years in prison plotting her revenge.

  5. We've been plotting growth strategies for the company.

  6. She carefully plotted her career path.

  7. They've plotted the locations where the trees will be planted.

  8. Have you plotted the route for your trip yet?

  9. Students plotted soil temperatures on a graph throughout the school year.

Origin and Etymology of plot

(see 1plot)

First Known Use: 1588

PLOT Defined for Kids



noun \ˈplät\

Definition of plot for Students

  1. 1 :  a secret usually evil scheme

  2. 2 :  the plan or main story of a play or novel

  3. 3 :  a small area of ground <a garden plot>




Definition of plot for Students



  1. 1 :  to plan or scheme secretly usually to do something bad

  2. 2 :  to make a plan of <Have you plotted your route?>



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up plot? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


articulated in the throat

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of these is a synonym of namby-pamby?

insipid insightful lithe energetic
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.