\ ˈplät How to pronounce plot (audio) \

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 How to pronounce plot (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from plot


plotless \ ˈplät-​ləs How to pronounce plotless (audio) \ 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Beneath the game that gives the novel its plot, Raskin built a narrative substructure that consists of the intersecting identity crises experienced by the sixteen—sixteen! Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "“The Westing Game,” a Tribute to Labor That Became a Dark Comedy of American Capitalism," 13 June 2019 Cohen’s parents bought their plots in the 1970s, but since then costs have risen dramatically. Josefin Dolsten,, "Why some American Jews pay more than $20,000 to get buried in Israel," 11 June 2019 Their stories’ plots differed, but their protagonists were mostly the same: tough-talking, straight-shooting private detectives. Susanna Lee, Quartz, "How the ‘good guy with a gun’ became a deadly American fantasy," 7 June 2019 And that’s just in fashion—the 1972 dark comedy, Pink Flamingos, is a cult classic for its bizarre, bold plot. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Everything You Need to Know About the Met Gala’s Wild Flamingo Centerpiece," 6 May 2019 There's a whole television show based on the idea, movies include it in their plots, and celebs have shared personal experiences with online dupes. Danielle Corcione, Teen Vogue, "6 Signs You're Being Catfished," 3 Apr. 2019 The long, exhausting journeys and austerity of life on a dig proved to be no obstacle to her writing, and enriched her murderous plots. National Geographic, "Agatha Christie's adventurous 'second act' plays out in Mesopotamia," 21 Mar. 2019 That would lend itself to a recurring show, as its plot would be longer and more complex than that of the book, which focuses on Camille (Amy Adams). Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Is Sharp Objects, the HBO Series Starring Amy Adams, Getting a Season 2? Well, Maybe.," 12 Mar. 2019 The plot for a Riverdale/Chilling Adventures of Sabrina crossover. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "5 "Riverdale" Season 4 Theories That Will Keep You Up At Night," 16 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Check out these photos from a few of our favorite celeb globetrotters and start plotting a summer getaway of your own. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "The Getaway: 10 Hot Celebs Giving Us Travel Envy This Week," 6 June 2019 In a speech on Sunday, days after his political maneuver, Sirisena said that one of Wickremesinghe’s cabinet ministers had been plotting to assassinate him. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Dueling prime ministers and assassination plots: an escalating crisis in Sri Lanka," 1 Nov. 2018 Almost immediately after that, Google employees began plotting ways to undermine the President's Executive Order. Fox News, "New evidence of political bias at Google; gender politics at play in Michigan Senate race," 21 Sep. 2018 Positions and sightings from nine other U.S. warships in the area were plotted on a chart to generate the starting point for the search grid. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Explorers Discover the Wreck of the Aircraft Carrier USS Hornet, Sunk in World War II," 12 Feb. 2019 Over the course of a few bottles of red wine and a large bowl of pasta, the whole play got plotted out. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "Laura Donnelly's Family Secrets Became the Basis for the New Play The Ferryman," 12 Nov. 2018 Prosecutors said Packer and her boyfriend, Jacob Sullivan, shared a rape-murder fantasy and spent months plotting Grace’s slaying in a vacant house about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Philadelphia. Michael Rubinkam, The Seattle Times, "‘Evil attracts evil’: Judge gives mom life in teen murder," 30 Mar. 2019 Years earlier, al Qaeda had started plotting to attack a ship in Yemen’s coastal waters, originally thinking of targeting a commercial oil tanker until bin Laden pushed to hit an American warship instead. Warren Bass, WSJ, "The Bin Laden Attack That Two Presidents Failed to Answer," 10 Jan. 2019 Cheryl Blossom better start plotting her revenge, because Betty Cooper just thiefed her look. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Lili Reinhart Flaunts Her Underwear at the 2019 Golden Globes," 7 Jan. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about plot

Dictionary Entries near plot





plot's elm



Statistics for plot

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plot

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce plot (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!