\ˈplāt \

Definition of plate 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a smooth flat thin piece of material

b(1) : forged, rolled, or cast metal in sheets usually thicker than ¹/₄ inch (6 millimeters)

(2) : a very thin layer of metal deposited on a surface of base metal by plating

c : one of the broad metal pieces used in armor also : armor of such plates

d(1) : a thin relatively flat anatomical part (such as a lamina of bone) of an animal body especially : scute

(2) : the thin under portion of the forequarter of beef especially : the fatty back part — see beef illustration

e : home plate

f : any of the large movable segments into which the earth's lithosphere is divided according to the theory of plate tectonics

2 [ Middle English; partly from Anglo-French plate plate, bullion; partly from Old Spanish plata silver, from Vulgar Latin *platta metal plate, from feminine of plattus flat ]

a obsolete : a silver coin

b : precious metal especially : silver bullion

3 [ Middle English, from Anglo-French plat, plate dish, plate, from plat flat ]

a : domestic hollowware made of or plated with gold, silver, or base metals

b : a shallow usually circular vessel from which food is eaten or served

c(1) : a quantity to fill a plate : plateful

(2) : a main course served on a plate

(3) : food and service supplied to one person a dinner at $10 a plate

d(1) : a prize given to the winner in a contest

(2) British : a horse race in which the contestants compete for a prize of fixed value rather than stakes

e : a dish or pouch passed during collections

f : a flat glass or plastic dish used chiefly for culturing microorganisms

4a : a prepared surface from which printing is done

b : a sheet of material (such as glass or plastic) coated with a light-sensitive photographic emulsion

c : a metallic grid with its interstices filled with active material that forms one of the structural units of a battery

d : license plate

5 : a horizontal structural member that provides bearing and anchorage especially for the trusses of a roof or the rafters

6 : the part of a denture that fits to the mouth broadly : denture

7 : a full-page illustration often on different paper from the text pages

8 : a schedule of matters to deal with have a lot on my plate now

on a plate

: without having been earned : as a gift goals were handed to them on a plate


plated; plating

Definition of plate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cover or equip with plate: such as

a : to provide with armor plate

b : to cover with an adherent layer mechanically, chemically, or electrically also : to deposit (something, such as a layer) on a surface

2 : to make a printing surface from or for

3 : to fix or secure with a plate

4 : to cause (a runner) to score in baseball

5 : to arrange (food) on a plate

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from plate


platelike \ˈplāt-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Synonyms for plate

Synonyms: Noun

lamella, lamina, scale

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of plate in a Sentence


a plate of cheese and crackers I ate a salad and a plate of spaghetti. A shiny metal plate was screwed to the door. He had a steel plate put in his shoulder after the accident.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Behind plexiglass, microherbs are carefully plucked and placed on every plate. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How urban farms in New York schools are raising food to fight inequality," 27 Sep. 2018 Roll up the fillets and place them seam side down on a plate. Gina Homolka And Heather K. Jones, Woman's Day, "Pesce Primavera," 19 Sep. 2018 Add 1 tablespoon oil, then mushrooms; season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, tossing twice, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes; transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Redbook Test Kitchen, Redbook, "Seared Chicken with Cheesy Spinach and Mushrooms," 20 Aug. 2018 Eleven batters came to the plate and four players had RBIs. Blake Baumgartner, Naperville Sun, "Middle men: Nick Taylor and Nolan Clifford answer call but Neuqua Valley loses in eight innings," 13 July 2018 Boqueria brings you Barcelona on a plate, thoughtfully written and beautifully photographed. Robin Currie,, "Bring the tapas bar home with 'Boqueria'," 5 July 2018 Place one zucchini slice, goat cheese side up, on a serving plate. Terri Milligan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Keep your cool: No-heat cooking keeps you comfortable and the food fresh," 5 July 2018 There’s a secret door that can be unlocked only via an eye scan; an oversized eyeball drawn on a paper plate does the job. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp Has Stakes as Small as Its Superheroes But It’s Hard to Dislike," 3 July 2018 Before Jones returned to the plate, the Orioles had produced their biggest lead of the season. Jon Meoli,, "Orioles’ luck turns, if only for a day, as 8-2 win over Angels snaps seven-game skid," 1 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Cook parsley in same skillet, in two batches, until crisp; transfer to plate with capers, adding another tablespoon oil to skillet between batches, if necessary. Kate Merker, Country Living, "Farro-and-Tomato Salad with Crispy Capers," 10 Aug. 2018 To plate, place a round of baked crust in a bowl, top with fruit mixture, and another round of crust. House Beautiful, "Carla Hall's Sweet Potato, Apple, and Cranberry Potpie Dessert," 7 Nov. 2012 Despite the finality of the pig pen to plate path, governing rules exist. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "They stabbed pigs in the heart on his orders. He's the one looking at federal prison," 25 June 2018 Hader got ahead of Heyward, 0-1, before the rightfielder turned on a 95-mph fastball and sent it to right field to plate Zobrist with the tying run. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cubs make the most of Brewers' mistakes as they move into first in NL Central," 12 June 2018 That gaffe proved huge as Jason Heyward followed with a single to right — just the second hit by a left-handed hitter in 37 at-bats against Hader this season — to plate Zobrist and tie the game. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cubs 7, Brewers 2: The frustration continues after late-innings meltdown," 11 June 2018 Or Eisenhower rallying from a 3-2 deficit in the fifth inning to plate eight unanswered runs. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With grand slams, comebacks and a walk-off trick play, Woodland baseball doesn't disappoint," 5 July 2018 Bauers hooked a double down the right-field line to plate the go-ahead runs, and reliever Vidal Nuno later followed with a RBI single off Graves, the Rule 5 pick making his fourth major league appearance. Matthew Defranks,, "Marlins denied another walk-off win as Rays outlast Miami in 16 innings," 4 July 2018 To plate, take individual leaves and stack in a tower on the middle of the plates. Jennifer Mcclellan, azcentral, "Recipes: Summer salads from Arizona chef show it's a great time to eat healthy," 5 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of plate


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plate


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from plate, feminine of plat flat, from Vulgar Latin *plattus, probably from Greek platys broad, flat — more at place

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about plate

Statistics for plate

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plate

The first known use of plate was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for plate



English Language Learners Definition of plate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a flat and usually round dish that is used for eating or serving food

: the food that is served on a plate

: a thin, flat piece of metal



English Language Learners Definition of plate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to add a layer of metal to the outside of (something)

baseball : to cause (a run or a runner) to score


\ˈplāt \

Kids Definition of plate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a shallow usually round dish

2 : a main course of a meal I ate a plate of spaghetti.

3 : a thin flat piece of material steel plate

5 : a piece of metal on which something is engraved or molded a license plate

6 : an illustration often covering a full page of a book

7 : a sheet of glass coated with a chemical sensitive to light for use in a camera


plated; plating

Kids Definition of plate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cover with a thin layer of metal (as gold or silver)


\ˈplāt \

Medical Definition of plate 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a thin relatively flat piece or lamina (as of bone) that is part of the body

2a : a flat glass dish used chiefly for culturing microorganisms especially : petri dish

b : a culture or culture medium contained in such a dish

3 : a supporting or reinforcing element: as

a : the part of a denture that fits in the mouth broadly : denture

b : a thin flat narrow piece of metal (as stainless steel) that is used to repair a bone defect or fracture

plated; plating

Medical Definition of plate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to inoculate and culture (microorganisms or cells) on a plate also : to distribute (an inoculum) on a plate or plates for cultivation

2 : to repair (as a fractured bone) with metal plates

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on plate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plate

Spanish Central: Translation of plate

Nglish: Translation of plate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plate for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about plate

Comments on plate

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!