\ ˈpləg-ˌin How to pronounce plug-in (audio) \

Definition of plug-in

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: designed to be connected to an electric circuit by plugging in a plug-in toy a plug-in circuit board



Definition of plug-in (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : something that plugs in
2 : a small piece of software that supplements a larger program (such as a browser)

plug in

plugged in; plugging in; plugs in

Definition of plug in (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to establish an electric circuit by inserting a plug

transitive verb

: to attach or connect to an electric receptacle (such as an outlet)

Examples of plug-in in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That’ll be a big deal to anyone who’s dotted their house in charging mats, and less of a big deal to anyone who still plugs in their phone all the time. Sam Byford, The Verge, "Oppo Reno 10x Zoom review: a OnePlus 7 Pro with a better camera," 17 June 2019 Just this week, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 37, and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, 46, have, in increasingly aggressive terms, cast Biden as the driver who gets into the DeLorean from Back to the Future and plugs in the wrong date. Jonathan Allen, NBC News, "Biden's 'Back to the Future' dilemma," 13 June 2019 Those add-ons don't just snap on, plug in, or connect via Bluetooth. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "iPadOS Isn't Just a Name. It's a New Direction for Apple," 9 June 2019 Residents will soon be able to go to the city’s web site and plug in the value of their properties to determine a more accurate tax amount, city officials said. Martin E. Comas,, "Tavares voters to decide: Should city borrow $27M to build performing arts center?," 7 June 2019 Wireless charging has been around for a while, but most of us still plug in to power up. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "31 Great Gifts for Father’s Day 2019," 5 June 2019 Traders in Stifel Nicolaus’ Baltimore office plugged in their headphones Friday morning to listen to Chairman Powell’s commentary for clues about the path of Fed policy. David Hodari, WSJ, "U.S. Stocks Surge on Powell Remarks, Jobs Report," 4 Jan. 2019 But these bits of background have the paradoxical effect of seeming both too short and too long—too substantial to be merely illustrative, too evocative of a wide range of experiences to be plugged in as background. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Rolling Thunder Revue,” Reviewed: Martin Scorsese’s Slippery Chronicle of Bob Dylan in Concert," 14 June 2019 Despaigne, 32, has been plugged in to start tonight’s series opener against the Nationals, a move that was expected after the Sox placed Dylan Covey on the injured list Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. Phil Thompson,, "White Sox call up Odrisamer Despaigne to start against the Nationals and release Nicky Delmonico," 10 June 2019

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


1922, in the meaning defined above


1946, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1903, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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Dictionary Entries near plug-in


plug hat



plug in

plug key


Statistics for plug-in

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Time Traveler for plug-in

The first known use of plug-in was in 1903

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More Definitions for plug-in



English Language Learners Definition of plug-in

computers : a small piece of software that adds a feature to a larger program or makes a program work better

More from Merriam-Webster on plug-in

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plug-in

Nglish: Translation of plug-in for Spanish Speakers

Comments on plug-in

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


something desired as essential

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