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

altiplano, mesa, table, tableland

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Examples of plateau in a Sentence


a plateau covering hundreds of miles The price of gas seems to have reached a plateau.


Sales of computers have plateaued in recent years.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Vignon clearly relishes being at the center of the storm, with reporters now beating a path to the Vercors plateau in southeastern France where the portly priest ministers. John Leicester, Fox News, "In France, rebel priest takes on church bosses on sex abuse," 6 Sep. 2018 The four-hour round trip walk begins in an old growth forest, and ends at the two majestic namesake lakes; poised on a pumiced plateau, there are wildflowers, elk, and plenty of views. Jenna Scatena, Condé Nast Traveler, "Three Best Day Trips from Seattle," 17 May 2018 A year after missing all but three games with a back injury, Watt suffered a left tibial plateau fracture five games into last season. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Texans training camp questions: All eyes on Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt," 18 June 2018 Bryant hasn’t had more than 69 receptions or 838 yards in a season and has battled injuries such as a broken foot in 2015 and a tibial plateau fracture in 2016. Drew Davison, star-telegram, "Hall of Famer Michael Irvin says Dallas Cowboys should keep Dez Bryant | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 12 Apr. 2018 In the yard of the stone elementary school with the tile roof in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a town of just 2,700 people on a high plateau in south-central France, kids play and horse around like school kids everywhere. Lucian Perkins, Smithsonian, "This French Town Has Welcomed Refugees for 400 Years," 27 June 2018 The novel, Abel’s first, takes place almost entirely at a back-to-the-land summer camp in the high plateau where the desert meets the Rocky Mountains. Zoe Greenberg, New York Times, "In the Colorado Desert, a Debut Novelist Finds a Metaphor for Israel and Palestine," 25 May 2018 From an environmental perspective, the phone plateau should be something to celebrate. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Apple's in Trouble for the First Time in a Long Time, And You Already Know Why," 3 Jan. 2019 From 1955 to 1973, Monzino adventured from Senegal to the North Pole, from the Tibesti plateau in Chad to East Africa’s Mountains of the Moon. Sophy Roberts, Condé Nast Traveler, "On Your Next Trip to Nepal, Rent the House Sir Edmund Hillary Loved," 20 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

New data from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association suggests opioid addiction rates are finally plateauing. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Opioid addiction is plateauing. But the crisis isn’t over.," 23 July 2018 As sales plateaued in the middle of the decade, Hasbro tried to add life to the franchise by giving Joe an adversary. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "Yo, Joe: How a 12-Inch Soldier Doll Became a Toy Legend," 9 Apr. 2019 Meanwhile, a gauge of U.S. home-builder confidence plateaued in September after declining for much of 2018. Sarah Chaney, WSJ, "U.S. New-Home Sales Bounced Back in August," 26 Sep. 2018 Ditto Japan, where early progress under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has plateaued. Andrew Peaple, WSJ, "Investors in Asia Need All the Help They Can Get," 5 Dec. 2018 Because fuel-efficiency gains are plateauing, manufacturers like Boeing and Lockheed Martin are now starting to put money on a supersonic comeback. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Airbus Shows Danger of Wanting It Bigger and Faster," 14 Feb. 2019 Studies show the share of female doctors who have passed the national medical exam has plateaued at around 30 percent for more than 20 years, leading some experts to suspect that other medical schools also discriminate against women. Mari Yamaguchi, The Seattle Times, "Japan medical school confirms altering scores to limit women," 7 Aug. 2018 Values of properties owned by U.S. real-estate investment trusts have plateaued over the past 18 months, although some sectors, like industrial property, are doing better than others. Peter Grant And, WSJ, "Real-Estate IPO to Test Investor Faith in Economic Expansion," 24 July 2018 The construction of new apartment buildings looks to be on the decline, and rents -- particularly at the high end -- have plateaued. Elliot Njus,, "Portland-area population growth slows to lowest level since 2013, Census Bureau says," 21 Sep. 2017

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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Statistics for plateau

Last Updated

13 May 2019

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Time Traveler for plateau

The first known use of plateau was in 1743

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More Definitions for plateau



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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Comments on plateau

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


using a distributed computer network

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