\ 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

Maurice also had complaints about what seems to be the crux of Green Book's plot: the evolution of the friendship between Don Shirley and Tony Vallelonga. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Don Shirley's Family Questions Green Book's Accuracy," 5 Jan. 2019 Bandersnatch allows viewers to make film-altering choices, which range from trivial (pick the protagonist's breakfast) to plot-altering (choose whether to take medication), by using remote controls on most streaming-video devices. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Not Bander-snatched: Black Mirror confirms fifth season plans," 28 Dec. 2018 These houses were built side by side on deep, narrow plots, leaving the owners with a relatively small exterior surface on which to express their sense of self-importance. Steve King, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why We Keep Going Back to Amsterdam," 24 Dec. 2018 Well, the writing’s great at least, poking fun at the Bruce Campbell machismo archetype with its one-liners and self-serious plot. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "'s winter sale kicks off with free copies of LucasArts classic Full Throttle," 13 Dec. 2018 TVLine reported in October that a mid-season plot line could leave Agent Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and his team in some serious hot water. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Is Another 'NCIS' Character Leaving the Show?," 6 Nov. 2018 Defense attorney Charles Lee has said his client was having second thoughts, and didn’t take steps to carry out the plot. Frank Miles, Fox News, "California man sentenced for plotting ISIS-inspired San Francisco attack," 2 Oct. 2018 The plot centers on four friends from high school who are forced to reconnect following a crisis. Niki Mcgloster,, "The Quick Read: Gabrielle Union Opens Up About Miscarriages and Fertility Issues," 13 July 2018 Police believe Leon was involved in the plot to kill Ted Shaughnessy, the owner of an Austin jewelry business. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "Third suspect in Texas teen's alleged murder-for-hire plot of father is arrested," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As the lawsuit progresses the evidence will emerge and the world will see how IAC and Match plotted against their employees and rewarded misconduct. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "Tinder fires its head of comms, following her participation in a $2 billion lawsuit against Match," 18 Dec. 2018 The girl and her siblings had plotted the escape for two years, Hestrin said. Associated Press, Houston Chronicle, "Prosecutor: Parents chained children for months at a time," 18 Jan. 2018 That includes exiled Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), who plots an invasion from across the sea. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Here’s the first teaser for the final season of Game of Thrones," 13 Nov. 2018 Mei ZhangWildChinaShe’s a Chinese-food expert, plotting quests for prosciutto-like ham in Yunnan and fiery mapo tofu in Chengdu. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "2018 Top Travel Specialists We Trust," 19 Oct. 2018 Where Trump bases his judgments and opinions on instinct, Johnson is a notorious strategist who has long plotted how to inveigle his way into the United Kingdom’s top job. Dan Stewart, Time, "The 3 Big Takeaways from Donald Trump's Controversial Interview with The Sun," 13 July 2018 In 1993, President Bill Clinton announced the US had launched missiles against Iraqi targets because of ‘‘compelling evidence’’ Iraq had plotted to assassinate former president George H.W. Bush., "This day in history," 26 June 2018 As is sometimes the case at road courses, the hard work occurred in the head of crew chiefs plotting strategy. Mike Hembree, USA TODAY, "Martin Truex Jr. surges into championship picture with deft pit-stop fake-out," 24 June 2018 There’s affecting drama in the story lines, but director Evan Ensign doesn’t have his cast take a beat to allow important emotional moments (or plot exposition) settle with the audience. Matthew J. Palm,, "Touring production dampens — but can’t quench — the spirit of ‘Rent’," 6 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

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English

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Dictionary Entries near plot





plot's elm



Statistics for plot

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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