\ ˈpləg-ˌin \

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


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

Charge your computer, output to a 4K monitor, plug in flash storage, and more with this device. Cameron Faulkner, The Verge, "Save on items from The Verge’s Holiday Gift Guide with these exclusive discounts," 6 Nov. 2018 In the other scenario, fast charging creates a peak in demand at the end of the work day as cars return home and plug in. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Electric vehicles to clean up Beijing? Depends on how they’re charged," 3 May 2018 The Patriots have suffered key losses in free agency before but always plug in new pieces and keep rolling. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Starting with Browns' Baker Mayfield, most intriguing story lines out of the NFL draft," 29 Apr. 2018 Simply by plugging in a cable, an old phone just a few feet away would ring. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Try your hand at being an operator at the Roseville Telephone Museum," 22 Dec. 2018 Undoing Durkan’s move would leave the council with a problem – a $5.7 million hole to plug in the rest of her 2019 budget. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "Seattle City Council scrutinizes mayor’s spending plan for larger-than-expected soda-tax proceeds," 22 Oct. 2018 Each seat in Brightline’s lounges serves as a charging station, so there’s no need to ever sit on the floor just to plug in. Paul Rubio, Condé Nast Traveler, "Riding the Brightline, America’s Train of the Future," 25 Sep. 2018 Hannity is plugged in to Trump's base, which makes him valuable in the president's eyes. Callum Borchers, Washington Post, "Sean Hannity personifies Trump's TV presidency," 2 Feb. 2018 This is true, but only in the best-case scenario, assuming that thousands of local clerks and technicians have never once accidentally plugged in an ethernet cable or network jack. Benjamin Wofford, Vox, "The midterms are already hacked. You just don’t know it yet.," 25 Oct. 2018

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

Look-up Popularity

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

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