1 of 3


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


2 of 3


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

plug in

3 of 3


plugged in; plugging in; plugs in

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
Rivian this week debuted a new public charger reliability score that uses plug-in data from its vehicles to grade the chargers on an A-to-F scale. Emily Dreibelbis, PCMAG, 15 Apr. 2024 This week, Lawrence Stroll, executive chairman of Aston Martin, told reporters at the company's U.K. headquarters that Aston is delaying its shift to electrics, focusing instead on plug-in hybrids. Morgan Korn, ABC News, 13 Apr. 2024 In October 2021, when the groups submitted their petition, fully electric and plug-in hybrid models represented about 5.3% of the U.S. market for new cars, according to data from Wards Auto. Tribune News Service, The Mercury News, 10 Apr. 2024 The South Korean company has been a Ferrari supplier for several years, providing the battery for the SF90 Stradale plug-in hybrid that was unveiled in 2019. Daniele Lepido, Fortune Europe, 9 Apr. 2024 For years, Musk has been promising an affordable electric vehicle, likely priced at $25,000, as a way to broaden the appeal of plug-in vehicles. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, 5 Apr. 2024 During the same period, BYD has seen its electric-vehicle sales soar in China, growing from about 130,000 to more than 1.5 million, not including its thriving business in plug-in hybrids or its fast-growing exports. Hyunjoo Jin, USA TODAY, 5 Apr. 2024 By contrast, California boasts just over 105,000 charging stations for plug-in vehicles. Bloomberg, The Mercury News, 4 Apr. 2024 Hybrid sales, however, grew 45% from January through March, while plug-in hybrids, which can go a short distance on battery power before a gas-electric system kicks in, grew 34% according to Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez, Fortune, 4 Apr. 2024
Enlarge Ars Technica AutoPacific broke the data out into those looking for internal combustion engine vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or battery EVs. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 24 Mar. 2023 Witricity has previously conducted a couple pilots with BMW on the 5 series plug-in hybrid in Europe and California using its WPT. Sam Abuelsamid, Forbes, 23 Mar. 2023 However, OpenAI’s plug-in doesn’t just retrieve real-time information. Mitchell Clark, The Verge, 23 Mar. 2023 The 330e plug-in hybrid combines a turbo 2.0-liter engine with an electric motor that together generate 288 horses and 310 pound-feet. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 22 Mar. 2023 With a simple plug-in to the iPhone’s charging port, the Backbone One turns a phone into a responsive gaming machine. Tyler Lynch, Popular Mechanics, 22 Mar. 2023 Early adopters are putting GPT-4 up to all sorts of colorful tests, from asking it how to make money to asking it to code a browser plug-in that makes websites speak Pirate. Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2023 Since the end of 2018, the state has offered two cash rebates for Oregon drivers who buy or lease electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids under $50,000. Gwozniac, oregonlive, 15 Mar. 2023 The law gives qualifying vehicle buyers as much as $7,500 tax credit for the purchase of a new electric vehicle (EV) or plug-in hybrid and up to $4,000 for a used one. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, 13 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'plug-in.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1922, in the meaning defined above


1946, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1903, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of plug-in was in 1903

Dictionary Entries Near plug-in

Cite this Entry

“Plug-in.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: software that adds to the capabilities of a larger program (as a browser)

plug in

2 of 2 verb
: to establish an electric circuit by inserting a plug

More from Merriam-Webster on plug-in

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