1. a shallow, usually circular dish, often of earthenware or porcelain, from which food is eaten.
  2. the contents of such a dish; plateful.
  3. an entire course of a meal served on such a dish: I had the vegetable plate for lunch.
  4. the food and service for one person, as at a banquet, fund-raising dinner, or the like: The wedding breakfast cost $20 a plate.
  5. household dishes, utensils, etc., of metal plated with gold or silver.
  6. household dishes, utensils, etc., made of gold or silver.
  7. Also called collection plate. a dish, as of metal or wood, used for collecting offerings, as in a church.
  8. a thin, flat sheet or piece of metal or other material, especially of uniform thickness.
  9. metal in such sheets.
  10. a flat, polished piece of metal on which something may be or is engraved.
  11. license plate.
  12. a flat or curved sheet of metal, plastic, glass, or similar hard material, on which a picture or text has been engraved, etched, molded, photographically developed, or drawn, that is inked, as in a press, for printing impressions on other surfaces.
  13. a printed impression from such a piece or from some similar piece, as a woodcut.
  14. a full-page illustration in a book, especially an insert on paper different from the text pages.
  15. a piece of armor made from a thin, flat piece or several such pieces of tough material, especially wrought iron or steel.
  16. armor composed of thin, flat pieces; plate armor.
  17. Dentistry.
    1. the part of a denture that conforms to the mouth and contains the teeth.
    2. the entire denture.
  18. Baseball.
    1. the plate.home plate.
    2. rubber1(def 14).
  19. plate glass.
  20. Photography. a sheet of glass, metal, etc., coated with a sensitized emulsion, used for taking a photograph.
  21. Anatomy, Zoology. a platelike part, structure, or organ.
  22. a thin piece or cut of beef from the lower end of the ribs.
  23. Geology. crustal plate.
  24. Electronics. one of the interior elements of a vacuum tube, toward which electrons are attracted by virtue of its positive charge; anode. Abbreviation: P
  25. Carpentry. any of various horizontal timbers or boards laid flat across the heads of studding, upon floors, etc., to support joists, rafters, or studs at or near their ends.
  26. a gold or silver cup or the like awarded as the prize in a horse race or some other contest.
  27. a horse race or some other contest for such a prize.
  28. Heraldry. a rounded argent.

verb (used with object), plat·ed, plat·ing.

  1. to coat (metal) with a thin film of gold, silver, nickel, etc., by mechanical or chemical means.
  2. to cover or overlay with metal plates for protection.
  3. Metalworking.
    1. to forge (a bloom or the like) into a broad piece.
    2. to hammer (cutlery) gently to produce an even surface.
  4. Printing. to make a stereotype or electrotype plate from (type).
  5. Papermaking. to give a high gloss to (paper), as on supercalendered paper.


  1. have on one’s plate, Informal. to have as an immediate task, obligation, or prospect: I had too much on my plate already to take on another task.

noun Obsolete.

  1. a coin, especially of silver.

noun Baseball.

  1. the base at which the batter stands and which a base runner must reach safely in order to score a run, typically a five-sided slab of whitened rubber set at ground level at the front corner of the diamond.


    1. a shallow usually circular dish made of porcelain, earthenware, glass, etc, on which food is served or from which food is eaten
    2. (as modifier)a plate rack
    1. Also called: platefulthe contents of a plate or the amount a plate will hold
    2. Australian and NZa plate of cakes, sandwiches, etc, brought by a guest to a partyeveryone was asked to bring a plate
  1. an entire course of a meala cold plate
  2. any shallow or flat receptacle, esp for receiving a collection in church
  3. flat metal of uniform thickness obtained by rolling, usually having a thickness greater than about three millimetres
  4. a thin coating of metal usually on another metal, as produced by electrodeposition, chemical action, etc
  5. metal or metalware that has been coated in this way, esp with gold or silverSheffield plate
  6. dishes, cutlery, etc, made of gold or silver
  7. a sheet of metal, plastic, rubber, etc, having a printing surface produced by a process such as stereotyping, moulding, or photographic deposition
  8. a print taken from such a sheet or from a woodcut, esp when appearing in a book
  9. a thin flat sheet of a substance, such as metal or glass
  10. armour made of overlapping or articulated pieces of thin metal
  11. photog
    1. a sheet of glass, or sometimes metal, coated with photographic emulsion on which an image can be formed by exposure to light
    2. (as modifier)a plate camera
  12. an orthodontic device, esp one used for straightening children’s teeth
  13. an informal word for denture (def. 1)
  14. anatomy any flat platelike structure or part
    1. a cup or trophy awarded to the winner of a sporting contest, esp a horse race
    2. a race or contest for such a prize
  15. any of the rigid layers of the earth’s lithosphere of which there are believed to be at least 15See also plate tectonics
  16. electronics
    1. mainly USthe anode in an electronic valve
    2. an electrode in an accumulator or capacitor
  17. a horizontal timber joist that supports rafters or studs
  18. a light horseshoe for flat racing
  19. a thin cut of beef from the brisket
  20. See plate rail
  21. Also called: Communion plate RC Church a flat plate held under the chin of a communicant in order to catch any fragments of the consecrated Host
  22. archaic a coin, esp one made of silver
  23. on a plate in such a way as to be acquired without further troublehe was handed the job on a plate
  24. on one’s plate waiting to be done or dealt withhe has a lot on his plate at the moment

verb (tr)

  1. to coat (a surface, usually metal) with a thin layer of other metal by electrolysis, chemical reaction, etc
  2. to cover with metal plates, as for protection
  3. printing to make a stereotype or electrotype from (type or another plate)
  4. to form (metal) into plate, esp by rolling
  5. to give a glossy finish to (paper) by calendering
  6. to grow (microorganisms) in a culture medium


  1. River Plate the English name for the (Río de la) Plata


  1. baseball a flat often five-sided piece of hard rubber or other material that serves to define the area over which the pitcher must throw the ball for a strike and that a base runner must safely reach on his way from third base to score a runAlso called: plate, home, home base

n.mid-13c., “flat sheet of gold or silver,” also “flat, round coin,” from Old French plate “thin piece of metal” (late 12c.), from Medieval Latin plata “plate, piece of metal,” perhaps via Vulgar Latin *plattus, formed on model of Greek platys “flat, broad” (see plaice (n.)). The cognate in Spanish (plata) and Portuguese (prata) has become the usual word for “silver,” superseding argento via shortening of *plata d’argento “plate of silver, coin.” Meaning “table utensils” (originally of silver or gold only) is from Middle English. Meaning “shallow dish for food,” now usually of china or earthenware, originally of metal or wood, is from mid-15c. Baseball sense is from 1857. Geological sense is first attested 1904; plate tectonics first recorded 1969. Plate-glass first recorded 1727. v.late 14c., from plate (n.). Related: Plated; plating. n.

  1. A smooth, flat, relatively thin, rigid body of uniform thickness.
  2. A thin flat layer, part, or structure.
  3. A thin metallic or plastic support fitted to the gums to anchor artificial teeth.
  4. A metal bar applied to a fractured bone in order to maintain the ends in apposition.
  5. The agar layer within a Petri dish or similar vessel.
  6. A sheet of glass or metal that is light-sensitive and on which a photographic image can be recorded.


  1. To form a very thin layer of a bacterial culture by streaking it on the surface of agar to isolate individual organisms from which a colonial clone will develop.


  1. A thin, flat sheet of metal or other material, especially one used as an electrode in a storage battery or capacitor, or as the anode of an electron tube.
  2. In plate tectonics, one of the sections of the Earth’s lithosphere (crust and upper mantle) that is in constant motion along with other sections. It is the interaction of the plates that causes mountains, volcanos, and other land features to form and that causes earthquakes to occur. Six major plates and numerous smaller ones are recognized. See more at tectonic boundary.


  1. To coat or cover with a thin layer of metal.

see hand to on a silver platter (serve up on a plate); have a lot on one’s plate.

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