\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

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Other Words from plate


platelike \ ˈplāt-​ˌlīk \ adjective

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Microplastics will inevitably get into our own food — both through the fish on our plates and through the water in our bottles. Radhika Viswanathan, Vox, "Why everyone is shunning plastic straws," 4 July 2018 If her work has a quiet authenticity, Braun is not shy about putting her opinions on her plates: Robert de Niro’s anti-Trump taunt at the Tony Awards and Samantha Bee’s description of Ivanka Trump have both made their way onto her crockery. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "Treat Yourself to a Porcelain Confection at (Former Baker) Margaret Braun’s New Ceramic Shop," 3 July 2018 Watch as the region’s culinary history plays itself out on your plate through cinematic animations that dance around the table and walls and, of course, with the food itself. Fortune, "5 Spectacular, New Ways to Experience the French Countryside," 28 June 2018 In fact, we've been fixated on restricting what's on our plates for hundreds of years, at least. Kevin Klatt, SELF, "Why Weight Loss Diets Fail," 26 June 2018 Later that week, as Marshall filled her breakfast plate, Santiago motioned her over. John H. Tucker, Daily Intelligencer, "Rape at Rosie’s," 26 June 2018 Etchers scrape lines in their plates to create not just images but actual effects. Mary Horlock, Longreads, "The Camouflage Artist: Two Worlds Wars, Two Loves, and One Great Deception," 21 June 2018 Middleton is notorious for her picture-perfect royal style, and Markle stepped up to the plate in cream high-waisted suit pants, a tucked in white and blue striped button-up from Ralph Lauren, and the cherry on top — the panama hat. Anna Millard,, "Yes, You've Seen Meghan Markle's Wimbledon Hat Before," 14 July 2018 After a rocky freshman season at the plate, the San Marcos native worked on getting back to basics. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Hamilton’s speed could be a boon for Longhorns at CWS," 15 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 From the fiery f-bomber Gordon Ramsay, to plate-throwing empire-builders like Joël Robuchon, who has racked up an unparalleled 31 Michelin stars internationally, chefs find that one star can explode into a galaxy. Casey Quackenbush / Hong Kong, Time, "'We're Not Educated.' The Untold Story of Lung King Heen, the World's First Michelin Three-Star Chinese Restaurant," 12 July 2018 To plate: Spoon the vegetable mixture onto the center of the (4 or 6) plates. Nicole Sours Larson,, "White fish & vegetables," 9 July 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.

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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

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Statistics for plate

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plate

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

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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

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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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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