Old English plot "small piece of ground," of unknown origin. Sense of "ground plan," and thus "map, chart" is 1550s; that of "a secret, plan, scheme" is 1580s, probably by accidental similarity to complot, from Old French complot "combined plan," of unknown origin, perhaps a back-formation from compeloter "to roll into a ball," from pelote "ball." Meaning "set of events in a story" is from 1640s. Plot-line (n.) attested from 1957.
1580s, "to lay plans for" (usually with evil intent); 1590s in the literal sense of "to make a map or diagram," from plot (n.). Related: Plotted; plotter; plotting.
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