\ ˈplīt How to pronounce plight (audio) \
plighted; plighting; plights

Definition of plight

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

: to put or give in pledge : engage plight his troth


noun (1)

Definition of plight (Entry 2 of 3)

: a solemnly given pledge : engagement


noun (2)

Definition of plight (Entry 3 of 3)

: an unfortunate, difficult, or precarious situation

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Other Words from plight


plighter noun

Examples of plight in a Sentence

Noun (2) Huckelberry decided to use the owl's plight as the impetus to craft a comprehensive conservation plan. — Terry McCarthy, Time, 4 Apr. 2005 It's a sign of where the health-care debate has gone that truly big dilemmas—like the plight of the 42.6 million people still uninsured or the future of Medicare—are taking a back seat to what was only recently a relatively minor campaign issue. — Jonathan Alter, Newsweek, 9 Oct. 2000 New political arrangements helped do in both Uruguay and New Zealand, and behind those arrangements are the plights of western Europe's old agricultural supply regions, especially those of France. — Jane Jacobs, Cities and the Wealth of Nations, 1984
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First Known Use of plight


13th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for plight

Verb and Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English plihtan to endanger, from pliht danger; akin to Old English plēon to expose to danger, Old High German pflegan to take care of

Noun (2)

Middle English plight, plit danger, condition, in part from Old English pliht; in part from Anglo-French plit, pleit, pli condition, plight, literally, bending, fold — more at plait

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Time Traveler for plight

Time Traveler

The first known use of plight was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near plight



plight one's troth

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Cite this Entry

“Plight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for plight


\ ˈplīt How to pronounce plight (audio) \

Kids Definition of plight

: a bad condition or state : predicament There really seemed to be no means of escape, and … they realized their helpless plight— L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz


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