plastic (adj.) Look up plastic at
1630s, "capable of shaping or molding," from Latin plasticus, from Greek plastikos "able to be molded, pertaining to molding, fit for molding," also in reference to the arts, from plastos "molded, formed," verbal adjective from plassein "to mold" (see plasma). Surgical sense of "remedying a deficiency of structure" is first recorded 1839 (in plastic surgery). Meaning "made of plastic" is from 1909. Picked up in counterculture slang with meaning "false, superficial" (1963). Plastic explosive (n.) attested from 1894.
Plasticine Look up Plasticine at
modeling clay substitute, 1897, from plastic (adj.) + -ine (2).
plasticity (n.) Look up plasticity at
1782, from plastic + -ity.
plastid (n.) Look up plastid at
1876, from German plastid, coined by Haeckel from Greek plastos "formed, molded" (verbal adjective from plassein "to mold;" see plasma) + -id.
plastron (n.) Look up plastron at
c. 1500, from Middle French plastron "breastplate," from Italian piastrone, augmentative of piastra "breastplate, thin metal plate" (see piaster). As an animal part, from 1813; as an article of dress, 1876.
plat (v.) Look up plat at
"to interweave," late 14c., variant of plait (v.). Related: Platted; platting.
plat (n.) Look up plat at
"piece of ground," 1510s, a variant of plot (n.) assimilated to Middle English plat (adj.) "flat," which is from Old French plat "flat, stretched out" (see plateau (n.)). See OED for full explanation.
plate (v.) Look up plate at
late 14c., from plate (n.). Related: Plated; plating.
plate (n.) Look up plate at
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" (from PIE root *plat- "to spread"). 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 is attested from 1967. Plate-glass first recorded 1727.
plateau (v.) Look up plateau at
1952, from plateau (n.). Related: Plateaued; plateauing.
plateau (n.) Look up plateau at
1796, "elevated tract of relatively level land," from French plateau "table-land," from Old French platel (12c.) "flat piece of metal, wood, etc.," diminutive of plat "flat surface or thing," noun use of adjective plat "flat, stretched out" (12c.), perhaps from Vulgar Latin *plattus, from Greek platys "flat, wide, broad" (from PIE root *plat- "to spread"). Meaning "stage at which no progress is apparent" is attested from 1897, originally in psychology of learning. In reference to sexual stimulation from 1960.
platelet (n.) Look up platelet at
1895, formed in English from plate (n.) + diminutive suffix -let.
platen (n.) Look up platen at
1540s, from Middle French plateine, from Old French platine "flat piece, metal plate" (13c.), perhaps altered (by influence of plat "flat") from patene, from Latin patena "pan."
platform (n.) Look up platform at
1540s, "plan of action, scheme, design," from Middle French plateforme, platte fourme, literally "flat form," from Old French plat "flat" (see plateau (n.)) + forme "form" (see form (n.)). The literal sense of "raised, level surface" in English is first recorded 1550s. Political meaning, "statement of party policies," is from 1803, probably originally an image of a literal platform on which politicians gather, stand, and make their appeals, and perhaps influenced by earlier sense of "set of rules governing church doctrine" (first attested 1570s). Railroad station sense is from 1838.
platinum (n.) Look up platinum at
metallic element, 1812, Modern Latin, from Spanish platina "platinum," diminutive of plata "silver," from Old French plate or Old Provençal plata "sheet of metal" (see plate (n.)). The metal looks like silver, and the Spaniards at first thought it an inferior sort of silver, hence the name platina. It was first obtained from Spanish colonies in Mexico and Colombia, brought to Europe in 1735, and identified as an element 1741. Taken into English as platina (c. 1750), it took its modern form (with element ending -ium) in 1812, at the time the names of elements were being regularized. As a shade of blond hair, attested from 1931. As a designation for a recording that has sold at least one million copies, it is attested from 1971.
platitude (n.) Look up platitude at
1812, "dullness," from French platitude "flatness, vapidness" (late 17c.), from Old French plat "flat" (see plateau (n.)); formed on analogy of latitude, etc. Meaning "a flat, dull, or commonplace remark" is recorded from 1815. Related: Platitudinous. Hence platitudinarian (n.), 1855; platitudinize (1867).
Platonic (adj.) Look up Platonic at
1530s, "of or pertaining to Greek philosopher Plato" (429 B.C.E.-c. 347 B.C.E.), from Latin Platonicus, from Greek Platonikos. The name is Greek Platon, properly "broad-shouldered" (from platys "broad;" from PIE root *plat- "to spread"). His original name was Aristocles. The meaning "free of sensual desire" (1630s), which the word usually carries nowadays, is a Renaissance notion; it is based on Plato's writings in "Symposium" about the kind of interest Socrates took in young men, which originally had no reference to women. Related: Platonically.
Platonism (n.) Look up Platonism at
1560s, from Plato (see Platonic) + -ism.
Platonist (n.) Look up Platonist at
1540s, from Plato (see Platonic) + -ist.
platoon (v.) Look up platoon at
in baseball, "to alternate (a player) with another in the same position," 1967, from platoon (n.), which had been used in team sports since 1941.
platoon (n.) Look up platoon at
1630s, from French peloton "platoon, group of people," from Middle French peloton (15c.), literally "little ball," hence, "agglomeration," diminutive of Old French pelote "ball" (see pellet).
Plattdeutsch Look up Plattdeutsch at
"Low German dialect of northern Germany," 1814, from German, from Dutch platduits, literally "flat (or low) German," from plat "flat, plain, clear" + duits "German" (see Dutch). In contrast to the speech of the upland parts of Germany.
platter (n.) Look up platter at
late 13c., platere, from Anglo-French plater, from Old French plate "metal plate" (see plate (n.)).
platypus (n.) Look up platypus at
Australian duck-mole, 1799, from Modern Latin, from Greek platypous, literally "flat-footed," from platys "broad, flat" (from PIE root *plat- "to spread") + pous "foot," from PIE root *ped- "foot."
Orig. the generic name, but, having already been given to a genus of beetles, it was in 1800 changed for Ornithorhyncus. [OED]
plaudit (n.) Look up plaudit at
1620s, short for plaudite "an actor's request for applause" (1560s), from Latin plaudite! "applaud!" second person plural imperative of plaudere "to clap, strike, beat; applaud, approve," of unknown origin (also in applaud, explode). This was the customary appeal for applause that Roman actors made at the end of a play. In English, the -e went silent then was dropped.
plausibility (n.) Look up plausibility at
1590s, from plausible + -ity.
plausible (adj.) Look up plausible at
1540s, "acceptable, agreeable," from Latin plausibilis "deserving applause, acceptable," from plaus-, past participle stem of plaudere "to applaud" (see plaudit). Meaning "having the appearance of truth" is recorded from 1560s. Related: Plausibly.
play (n.) Look up play at
Old English plega (West Saxon), plæga (Anglian) "quick motion; recreation, exercise, any brisk activity" (the latter sense preserved in swordplay, etc.), from or related to Old English plegan (see play (v.)). By early Middle English it could mean variously, "a game, a martial sport, activity of children, joke or jesting, revelry, sexual indulgence."

Meaning "dramatic performance" is attested by early 14c., perhaps late Old English. Meaning "free or unimpeded movement" of mechanisms, etc., is from c. 1200. Sporting sense "the playing of a game" first attested mid-15c.; sense of "specific maneuver or attempt" is from 1868. To be in play (of a hit ball, etc.) is from 1788. Play-by-play is attested from 1927. Play on words is from 1798. Play-money is attested from 1705 as "money won in gambling," by 1920 as "pretend money."
play (v.) Look up play at
Old English plegan, plegian "move rapidly, occupy or busy oneself, exercise; frolic; make sport of, mock; perform music," from West Germanic *plegan "occupy oneself about" (source also of Old Saxon plegan "vouch for, take charge of," Old Frisian plega "tend to," Middle Dutch pleyen "to rejoice, be glad," German pflegen "take care of, cultivate"), from PIE root *dlegh- "to engage oneself, be or become fixed."

Meaning "to take part in a game" is from c. 1200. Opposed to work (v.) since late 14c. Related: Played; playing. To play up "emphasize" is from 1909; to play down "minimize" is from 1930; to play along "cooperate" is from 1929. To play house as a children's activity is from 1958. To play with oneself "masturbate" is from 1896; play for keeps is from 1861, originally of marbles or other children's games with tokens. To play second fiddle in the figurative sense is from 1809 ("Gil Blas"). To play into the hands (of someone) is from 1705. To play the _______ card is attested from 1886; to play fair is from mid-15c. To play (something) safe is from 1911; to play favorites is attested from 1902. For play the field see field (n.).
play-bill (n.) Look up play-bill at
also playbill, 1670s, from play (n.) + bill (n.1).
play-day (n.) Look up play-day at
c. 1600, from play + day.
play-dough (n.) Look up play-dough at
1959, from play + dough.
play-list (n.) Look up play-list at
also playlist, 1975 in the radio station sense, from play (v.) + list (n.1).
play-pen (n.) Look up play-pen at
also playpen, 1931, from play + pen (n.2).
play-time (n.) Look up play-time at
also playtime, 1660s in the recreational sense, from play (n.) + time (n.).
playbook (n.) Look up playbook at
also play-book, 1530s, "book of stage plays," from play (n.) + book (n.). Meaning "Book of football plays" recorded from 1965.
playboy (n.) Look up playboy at
1829, "wealthy bon vivant," from play (v.) + boy. Fem. equivalent playgirl first recorded 1934. As the name of a U.S. based magazine for men, from December 1953.
player (n.) Look up player at
Old English plegere, agent noun from play (v.). Stage sense is from mid-15c. As a pimp's word for himself (also playa), attested from 1974. Player-piano attested from 1901.
playful (adj.) Look up playful at
mid-13c., from play (v.) + -ful. Related: Playfully; playfulness.
playground (n.) Look up playground at
1780, from play (v.) + ground (n.). Old English had plegstow "village sports ground," literally "place for play."
playhouse (n.) Look up playhouse at
late Old English pleghus; see play (n.) + house (n.).
playmate (n.) Look up playmate at
1640s, "companion, playfellow," from play (v.) + mate (n.). The sexual sense is from 1954 and the launch of "Playboy" magazine.
plaything (n.) Look up plaything at
1670s, from play (v.) + thing.
playwright (n.) Look up playwright at
1680s (Ben Jonson used it 1610s as a mock-name), from play (n.) + wright (n.).
plaza (n.) Look up plaza at
1830, from Spanish plaza "square, place," from Vulgar Latin *plattia, from Latin platea "courtyard, broad street" (from PIE root *plat- "to spread").
plea (n.) Look up plea at
early 13c., "lawsuit," from Anglo-French plai (late 12c.), Old French plait "lawsuit, decision, decree" (9c.), from Medieval Latin placitum "lawsuit," in classical Latin, "opinion, decree," literally "that which pleases, thing which is agreed upon," properly neuter past participle of placere "to please, give pleasure, be approved" (see please).

Sense development seems to be from "something pleasant," to "something that pleases both sides," to "something that has been decided." Meaning "a pleading, an agreement in a suit" is attested from late 14c. Plea-bargaining is first attested 1963. Common pleas (early 13c.) originally were legal proceedings over which the Crown did not claim exclusive jurisdiction (as distinct from pleas of the Crown); later "actions brought by one subject against another."
plead (v.) Look up plead at
mid-13c., "make a plea in court," from Anglo-French pleder, Old French plaidier, "plead at court" (11c.), from Medieval Latin placitare, from Late Latin placitum "lawsuit," in classical Latin, "opinion, decree," literally "that which pleases, thing which is agreed upon," properly neuter past participle of placere "to please, give pleasure, be approved" (see please). Sense of "request, beg" first recorded late 14c. Related: Pleaded; pleading; pleadingly.
pleading (n.) Look up pleading at
late 13c., "the carrying on of a suit at court," verbal noun from plead (v.). Meaning "supplication, intercession" is from early 15c.
pleasance (n.) Look up pleasance at
late 14c., from Old French plaisance "pleasure, delight, enjoyment," from plaisant "pleasant, pleasing, agreeable" (see pleasant).
pleasant (adj.) Look up pleasant at
late 14c. (early 14c. as a surname), from Old French plaisant "pleasant, pleasing, agreeable" (12c.), present participle of plaisir "to please, give pleasure to, satisfy," from Latin placere "to be acceptable, be liked, be approved" (see please). Pleasantry has the word's modern French sense of "funny, jocular." Related: Pleasantly.