Etymology
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plug (n.)

1620s, "piece of wood or other substance, usually in the form of a peg or bottle-cork, used to stop a hole in a vessel," originally a seamen's term, probably from Dutch plug, Middle Dutch plugge "bung, stopper," related to Norwegian plugg, Danish pløg (the Scandinavian words also might be from Low German), North Frisian plaak, Middle Low German pluck, German Pflock; all of uncertain etymology. The Irish and Gaelic words are said to be from English.

The sense of "wad or stick of tobacco" is attested from 1728, based on resemblance. Meaning "branch pipe from a water main leading to a point closed by a cap where a hose can be easily attached" is by 1727. Electrical sense is from 1883, based on being inserted; meaning "sparking device in an internal combustion engine" is from 1886. Meaning "advertisement" is recorded by 1902, American English, perhaps from verb sense "work energetically at" (c. 1865).

plug (v.)

"close tightly (a hole), fill or stop with or as with a plug," 1620s, from plug (n.) or from Dutch pluggen. OED dates the meaning "work energetically at" from c. 1865, and cites "Remembered on the river at Oxford" (and one wonders if a memory from Cambridge would pass). Sense of "popularize by repetition" is from 1906. Slang sense "put a bullet into" is recorded from 1870. Related: Plugged; plugging.

updated on July 15, 2020

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Definitions of plug from WordNet
1
plug (v.)
fill or close tightly with or as if with a plug;
plug the hole
Synonyms: stop up / secure
plug (v.)
persist in working hard;
Students must plug away at this problem
Synonyms: plug away
plug (v.)
deliver a quick blow to;
Synonyms: punch
plug (v.)
make a plug for; praise the qualities or in order to sell or promote;
plug (v.)
replace the center of a coin with a baser metal;
plug a nickle
plug (v.)
insert a plug into;
plug the wall
plug (v.)
insert as a plug;
She plugged a cork in the wine bottle
2
plug (n.)
blockage consisting of an object designed to fill a hole tightly;
Synonyms: stopper / stopple
plug (n.)
a wad of something chewable as tobacco;
Synonyms: chew / chaw / cud / quid / wad
plug (n.)
blatant or sensational promotion;
Synonyms: ballyhoo / hoopla / hype
plug (n.)
electrical device that fits into the cylinder head of an internal-combustion engine and ignites the gas by means of an electric spark;
Synonyms: spark plug / sparking plug
plug (n.)
an electrical device with two or three pins that is inserted in a socket to make an electrical connection;
Synonyms: male plug
plug (n.)
an upright hydrant for drawing water to use in fighting a fire;
Synonyms: fireplug / fire hydrant
plug (n.)
an old or over-worked horse;
Synonyms: hack / jade / nag
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.