\ˈplät \

Definition of plot 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a small area of planted ground a vegetable plot

b : a small piece of land in a cemetery

c : a measured piece of land : lot

3 : the plan or main story (as of a movie or literary work)

4 [ perhaps back-formation from complot ] : a secret plan for accomplishing a usually evil or unlawful end : intrigue

5 : a graphic representation (such as a chart)


\ˈplät \
plotted; plotting

Definition of plot (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to make a plot, map, or plan of

b : to mark or note on or as if on a map or chart

2 : to lay out in plots (see plot entry 1 sense 1)

3a : to locate (a point) by means of coordinates

b : to locate (a curve) by plotted points

c : to represent (an equation) by means of a curve so constructed

4 : to plan or contrive especially secretly

5 : to invent or devise the plot of (something, such as a movie or a literary work)

intransitive verb

1 : to form a plot : scheme

2 : to be located by means of coordinates the data plot at a single point

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Other Words from plot


plotless \ˈplät-​ləs \ adjective
plotlessness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for plot


plot, intrigue, machination, conspiracy, cabal mean a plan secretly devised to accomplish an evil or treacherous end. plot implies careful foresight in planning a complex scheme. an assassination plot intrigue suggests secret underhanded maneuvering in an atmosphere of duplicity. backstairs intrigue machination implies a contriving of annoyances, injuries, or evils by indirect means. the machinations of a party boss conspiracy implies a secret agreement among several people usually involving treason or great treachery. a conspiracy to fix prices cabal typically applies to political intrigue involving persons of some eminence. a cabal among powerful senators

synonyms see in addition plan

Examples of plot in a Sentence


Her books are page-turners, and yet there is more going on in them than just the mechanics of a clever plot — Robin McKinley, New York Times Book Review, 17 May 1987 … as he stood before the great dripping department store which now occupied the big plot of ground where once had stood both the Amberson Hotel and the Amberson Opera House. — Booth Tarkington, The Magnificent Ambersons, 1918 When I returned with the pistol the table had been cleared, and Holmes was engaged in his favourite occupation of scraping upon his violin. "The plot thickens," he said, as I entered … — Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet, 1887 The plots are selling for $15,000 per acre. They just bought a 12-acre plot of land. The book's plot revolves around a woman who is searching for her missing sister. The movie has a weak plot. Police uncovered a plot to assassinate the prime minister. The prime minister was the target of an assassination plot.


While men plotted wars or devised philosophies, women were confined within their homes … — Barbara Ehrenreich, Ms., Winter 2007 Would-be nation builders plotted Italy's unification from the south and the north. — David Van Biema, Time, 4 Sept. 2000 They plotted to steal the painting. She spent her years in prison plotting her revenge. We've been plotting growth strategies for the company. She carefully plotted her career path. They've plotted the locations where the trees will be planted. Have you plotted the route for your trip yet? Students plotted soil temperatures on a graph throughout the school year.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The plot is twisty in a perfunctory way, the action predictably explosive, the sought-after exhilaration nonexistent. The Seattle Times, "4 movies open the day before Thanksgiving in the Seattle area," 20 Nov. 2018 Traditionally, that expense is so high because burial requires the purchase of a plot—that is, land to bury your body on. Ace Ratcliff, SELF, "6 Things You Should Do Now to Prepare for Your Own Funeral," 30 Aug. 2018 Faris met with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and worked with Sept. 11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, although some critics questioned how realistic the plot was, given post-Sept. Andrew Welsh-huggins, Fox News, "Judge rejects US efforts to strip terrorist of citizenship," 21 July 2018 The plot may be as indecipherable as The Big Sleep, but the action is insane in this sixth installment of Mission: Impossible. Aja Hoggatt,, "Critics are loving Mission: Impossible -- Fallout," 12 July 2018 Otherwise, the plot is strangely simplistic, the special effects murky and chaotic. Katie Walsh,, "'Skyscraper' review: Dwayne Johnson shows off his dramatic acting chops," 11 July 2018 Tower spoke out against civil rights, joined with S. Dems to plot filibusters, and voted against the Civil Rights Act & Voting Rights Act. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Dinesh D’Souza gets a history lesson on Twitter.," 3 July 2018 The family plot is an opportunity for Maron to play Sam as an abrasive, gruff, good-hearted dad with an unconventional but perceptive parenting style. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "Marc Maron Is Great in GLOW, and Maybe That’s a Problem," 29 June 2018 Trump Effect The deputy attorney general and the FBI director are under fire for what some in the GOP believe is a plot against President Donald Trump. NBC News, "Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, FBI Director Wray face angry House Republicans," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For weeks now, some conservatives lead by President Donald Trump have claimed with scant evidence that tech companies are plotting against them. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "DOJ: We will examine social media firms that “may be hurting competition”," 5 Sep. 2018 As the papal investigation continued, another faction of Joanna’s family began plotting against her. Anne Thériault, Longreads, "Queens of Infamy: Joanna of Naples," 3 July 2018 In fact, while Dhillon sues Google for plotting to hire and promote women instead of men, the U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit against the company for quite the opposite: not hiring enough women. Kartikay Mehrotra,, "The Lawyer Who Wants to Make Silicon Valley a Safe Space for Conservatives," 5 Mar. 2018 In one of the few similar examples, two Iraqi men in 2011 who were admitted to the U.S. as refugees were arrested and later sentenced to prison for plotting to aid attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq. Zusha Elinson, WSJ, "Iraqi Refugee Accused of Being Former ISIS Fighter," 17 Aug. 2018 Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in prison for plotting to overthrow the Iranian government. Don Maines, Houston Chronicle, "Alvin city manager to leave job for Pfugerville post," 6 July 2018 An Ohio man arrested Sunday for allegedly plotting a terror attack on the Fourth of July in Cleveland was also eyeing Philadelphia’s City Hall and a local federal building for a Labor Day attack. Aubrey Nagle,, "Philly preps for the Fourth, Allentown Cadets march on | Morning Newsletter," 3 July 2018 Five men were indicted in Forsyth County this week for allegedly plotting to steal Bitcoin crypto-currency from a local resident in January. Fleming Smith, ajc, "5 men indicted for trying to steal Bitcoin from metro Atlanta resident," 15 June 2018 Last December, Rovinski was sentenced to 15 years in prison for plotting to commit acts of terrorism. Danny Mcdonald,, "Estate of Roslindale terror suspect files $5 million lawsuit against federal government," 2 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plot.' 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 plot


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1588, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for plot


Middle English, from Old English


see plot entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near plot





plot's elm



Statistics for plot

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plot

The first known use of plot was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for plot



English Language Learners Definition of plot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an area of land that has been measured and is considered as a unit

: a usually small piece of land that is used for a particular purpose

: a series of events that form the story in a novel, movie, etc.



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

: to plan secretly to do something usually illegal or harmful

: to plan (something)

: to mark (something, such as a location or path) on a map, graph, chart, etc.


\ˈplät \

Kids Definition of plot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a secret usually evil scheme

2 : the plan or main story of a play or novel

3 : a small area of ground a garden plot


plotted; plotting

Kids Definition of plot (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to plan or scheme secretly usually to do something bad

2 : to make a plan of Have you plotted your route?

Other Words from plot

plotter noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on plot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plot

Spanish Central: Translation of plot

Nglish: Translation of plot for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on plot

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


living or existing for a long time

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