pla·​teau | \ pla-ˈtō How to pronounce plateau (audio) , ˈpla-ˌtō \
plural plateaus also plateaux\ pla-​ˈtōz How to pronounce plateaux (audio) , ˈpla-​ˌtōz \

Definition of plateau

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a usually extensive land area having a relatively level surface raised sharply above adjacent land on at least one side : tableland
b : a similar undersea feature
2a : a region of little or no change in a graphic representation
b : a relatively stable level, period, or condition
3 : a level of attainment or achievement the 500-point plateau


plateaued; plateauing; plateaus

Definition of plateau (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to reach a level, period, or condition of stability or maximum attainment

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Synonyms for plateau

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of plateau in a Sentence

Noun a plateau covering hundreds of miles The price of gas seems to have reached a plateau. Verb Sales of computers have plateaued in recent years.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hitting: Became the 12th player to reach 3,000-hit plateau. Gene Myers, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers legend Al Kaline dies: Here are all his epic milestones," 6 Apr. 2020 In that game, Jones eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau. Shelby Dermer,, "Radford star Carlik Jones, former Aiken HS standout, enters transfer portal, per reports," 25 Mar. 2020 Only two other players in franchise history have reached the 40-point plateau prior to their 22nd birthday: LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Collin Sexton sends loud message with 41-point night, as Cleveland Cavaliers lose to Boston Celtics, 112-106," 5 Mar. 2020 His first bucket of the contest also boosted him over the 1,000-point plateau but ASU didn't have a complimentary weapon as the second -leading scorer was Rob Edwards tallied 11 but needed 10 shots. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "Gritty Arizona State basketball can't overcome Oregon," 12 Jan. 2020 Edge: Broncos Ryan O’Halloran, beat writer: Broncos 27, Bills 23 The Bills get caught looking ahead to Dallas, Phillip Lindsay throws a touchdown pass to Noah Fant and the Broncos eclipse the 25-point plateau for the first time this season. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Broncos scouting report: How Denver matches up against the Bills and predictions," 23 Nov. 2019 His yardage per game average this season sets him on pace to become the 11th player in state history to reach the 4,000-yard plateau. David Hinojosa,, "Pleasanton receiver reaching historic heights," 25 Sep. 2019 On the large plateau near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Van Arsdale gripped the dogs’ leashes, and Watson and Fink pulled him toward a patch of wild grass to relieve themselves. Los Angeles Times, "On the road in the Southwest during the coronavirus pandemic. Shelter in place? Keep driving?," 4 Apr. 2020 The chopper sets down on a plateau between the Mutnovsky and Gorely volcanoes. Carl Fincke, Washington Post, "On a remote Russian peninsula, a vodka-fueled ad�ven�ture," 6 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But in much of the rest of the country, cases have either plateaued or are still rising. Sara Chodosh, Popular Science, "See which states still have increasing rates of COVID-19," 18 May 2020 With some signs that the viral outbreak may have plateaued at least in certain areas of the country, a few governors have taken tentative steps to begin reopening their economies. Christopher Rugaber, The Christian Science Monitor, "US jobless claims reach 30 million, 1 in 6 unemployed," 30 Apr. 2020 In recent days, the United States kind of plateaued at about 100,000 tests per person. Wired Staff, Wired, "We Are in the Midst of This Coronavirus Outbreak—Now What?," 5 Apr. 2020 The study indicates the pace of deaths will plateau in May and June and eventually total almost 84,000 by the first week of August. Jordan Fabian,, "200,000 Could Die in U.S. Coronavirus Outbreak, Birx Says," 10 May 2020 Since then, many states have reopened while daily cases and infection rates have either plateaued or continued to climb, the AP analysis found. Anchorage Daily News, "Governors in several states are disregarding White House guidelines on reopening," 7 May 2020 County officials expect numbers to increase even though cases in the county may have plateaued, County Judge Jay Knight said. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty County judge warns coronavirus threat not over yet," 3 May 2020 As April wears on, case counts suggest that the pandemic is plateauing in parts of the U.S. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "The Pandemic Doesn’t Have to Be This Confusing," 29 Apr. 2020 Unlike Western Europe, where the epidemic was very bad but new cases and deaths have fallen markedly, the U.S. has so far roughly plateaued at around 30,000 new confirmed cases per day and 2,000 deaths. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Republicans' self-defeating rush to reopen states," 22 Apr. 2020

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

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First Known Use of plateau


1743, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1939, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for plateau


French, from Middle French, platter, from plat flat

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Time Traveler for plateau

Time Traveler

The first known use of plateau was in 1743

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Statistics for plateau

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Plateau.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for plateau


How to pronounce plateau (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of plateau

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a large flat area of land that is higher than other areas of land that surround it
: a period when something does not increase or advance any further



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

: to stop growing or increasing : to reach a plateau


pla·​teau | \ pla-ˈtō How to pronounce plateau (audio) \
plural plateaus or plateaux\ -​ˈtōz \

Kids Definition of plateau

: a broad flat area of high land


pla·​teau | \ pla-ˈtō, ˈpla-ˌ How to pronounce plateau (audio) \
plural plateaus also plateaux\ -​ˈtōz, -​ˌtōz \

Medical Definition of plateau

: a relatively flat elevated area — see tibial plateau

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