Etymology
Advertisement

place (n.)

c. 1200, "space, dimensional extent, room, area," from Old French place "place, spot" (12c.) and directly from Medieval Latin placea "place, spot," from Latin platea "courtyard, open space; broad way, avenue," from Greek plateia (hodos) "broad (way)," fem. of platys "broad," from PIE root *plat- "to spread."

Replaced Old English stow and stede. From mid-13c. as "particular part of space, extent, definite location, spot, site;" from early 14c. as "position or place occupied by custom, etc.; precedence, priority in rank or dignity; social status, position on some social scale;" from late 14c. as "inhabited place, town, country," also "place on the surface of something, portion of something, part." Meaning "a situation, appointment, or employment" is by 1550s. Meaning "group of houses in a town" is from 1580s.

Also from the same Latin source are Italian piazza, Catalan plassa, Spanish plaza, Middle Dutch plaetse, Dutch plaats, German Platz, Danish plads, Norwegian plass. The word appears via the Bible in Old English (Old Northumbrian plaece, plaetse "an open place in a city"), but the modern word is a reborrowing.

Sense of "a mansion with its adjoining grounds" is from mid-14c.; that of "building or part of a building set apart for some purpose is by late 15c. (in place of worship). Meaning "a broad way, square, or open space in a city or town," often having some particular use or character (Park Place, Waverly Place,Rillington Place) is by 1690s, from a sense in French. Its wide application in English covers meanings that in French require three words: place, lieu, and endroit. Cognate Italian piazza and Spanish plaza retain more of the etymological sense.

To take place "happen, come to pass, be accomplished" (mid-15c., earlier have place, late 14c.), translates French avoir lieu. To know (one's) place "know how to behave in a manner befitting one's rank, situation, etc." is from c. 1600, from the "social status" sense; hence the figurative expression put (someone) in his or her place (1855). In in the first place, etc., it has the sense of "point or degree in order of proceeding" (1630s). Out of place "not properly adjusted or placed in relation to other things" is by 1520s. All over the place "in disorder" is attested from 1923.

place (v.)

mid-15c., placen, "to determine the position of;" also "to put (something) in a particular place or position," from place (n.). The meaning "put or set (a number of things) in position or order, arrange" is from 1540s. Related: Placed; placing.

Sense of "to find a home, situation, marriage, etc. for" is from 1590s. The horse racing sense of "to achieve a certain position" (usually in the top three finishers; in U.S., specifically second place) is attested by 1924, from earlier meaning "to state the position of" (among the first three finishers), 1826.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of place
1
place (v.)
put into a certain place or abstract location;
Synonyms: put / set / pose / position / lay
place (v.)
place somebody in a particular situation or location;
he was placed on probation
place (v.)
assign a rank or rating to;
Synonyms: rate / rank / range / order / grade
place (v.)
assign a location to;
Synonyms: locate / site
place (v.)
to arrange for;
place a bet
place a phone call
place (v.)
take a place in a competition; often followed by an ordinal;
Synonyms: come in / come out
place (v.)
intend (something) to move towards a certain goal;
Synonyms: target / aim / direct / point
place (v.)
recognize as being; establish the identity of someone or something;
Synonyms: identify
place (v.)
assign to (a job or a home);
place (v.)
locate;
Synonyms: set / localize / localise
place (v.)
estimate;
Synonyms: put / set
place (v.)
identify the location or place of;
Synonyms: localize / localise
place (v.)
make an investment;
Synonyms: invest / put / commit
place (v.)
assign to a station;
Synonyms: station / post / send
place (v.)
finish second or better in a horse or dog race;
he bet $2 on number six to place
place (v.)
sing a note with the correct pitch;
2
place (n.)
a point located with respect to surface features of some region;
this is a nice place for a picnic
Synonyms: topographic point / spot
place (n.)
any area set aside for a particular purpose;
who owns this place?
Synonyms: property
place (n.)
an abstract mental location;
a political system with no place for the less prominent groups
a place in my heart
he has a special place in my thoughts
place (n.)
a general vicinity;
He comes from a place near Chicago
place (n.)
the post or function properly or customarily occupied or served by another;
took his place
Synonyms: stead / position / lieu
place (n.)
a particular situation;
If you were in my place what would you do?
Synonyms: shoes
place (n.)
where you live at a particular time;
your place or mine?
Synonyms: home
place (n.)
a job in an organization;
Synonyms: position / post / berth / office / spot / billet / situation
place (n.)
the particular portion of space occupied by something;
he put the lamp back in its place
Synonyms: position
place (n.)
proper or designated social situation;
he overstepped his place
Synonyms: station
place (n.)
a space reserved for sitting (as in a theater or on a train or airplane);
he sat in someone else's place
Synonyms: seat
place (n.)
the passage that is being read;
he lost his place on the page
place (n.)
proper or appropriate position or location;
a woman's place is no longer in the kitchen
place (n.)
a public square with room for pedestrians;
Synonyms: plaza / piazza
place (n.)
an item on a list or in a sequence;
in the second place
Synonyms: position
place (n.)
a blank area;
Synonyms: space / blank space
From wordnet.princeton.edu