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plate (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" (from PIE root *plat- "to spread"). The cognate in Spanish (plata) and Portuguese (prata) has become the usual word for "silver," superseding argento via a shortening of *plata d'argento "plate of silver, coin."

From 14c. as "armor made of sheets of metal." Meaning "table utensils" (originally of silver or gold only) is from Middle English. Meaning "shallow dish on which food is served at table," now usually of china or earthenware, originally of metal or wood, is from mid-15c. Meaning "articles which have been covered with a plating of precious metal" is from 1540s.

In photography, "common rectangular piece of glass used to receive the picture," by 1840. The baseball sense "home base" is from 1857. Geological sense "nearly rigid part of the earth's lithosphere" is attested from 1904; plate tectonics is attested from 1967. Plate-glass for a superior kind of thick glass used for mirrors, shop-windows, etc., is recorded from 1727.

plate (v.)

"to cover (something) with a layer of metal or mail," late 14c., platen, from plate (n.). Related: Plated.

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Definitions of plate from WordNet
1
plate (n.)
(baseball) base consisting of a rubber slab where the batter stands; it must be touched by a base runner in order to score;
Synonyms: home plate / home base / home
plate (n.)
a sheet of metal or wood or glass or plastic;
plate (n.)
a full-page illustration (usually on slick paper);
plate (n.)
dish on which food is served or from which food is eaten;
plate (n.)
the quantity contained in a plate;
Synonyms: plateful
plate (n.)
a rigid layer of the Earth's crust that is believed to drift slowly;
Synonyms: crustal plate
plate (n.)
the thin under portion of the forequarter;
plate (n.)
a main course served on a plate;
the blue plate special
a vegetable plate
plate (n.)
any flat platelike body structure or part;
plate (n.)
the positively charged electrode in a vacuum tube;
plate (n.)
a flat sheet of metal or glass on which a photographic image can be recorded;
Synonyms: photographic plate
plate (n.)
structural member consisting of a horizontal beam that provides bearing and anchorage;
plate (n.)
a shallow receptacle for collection in church;
Synonyms: collection plate
plate (n.)
a metal sheathing of uniform thickness (such as the shield attached to an artillery piece to protect the gunners);
Synonyms: scale / shell
plate (n.)
a dental appliance that artificially replaces missing teeth;
Synonyms: denture / dental plate
2
plate (v.)
coat with a layer of metal;
plate spoons with silver
From wordnet.princeton.edu