Definition of plait in English:

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Pronunciation: /plāt/
Pronunciation: /plat/


1A single length of hair or other flexible material made up of three or more interlaced strands; a braid.
Example sentences
  • There was a room full of women's hair, and amongst the hair was a single plait, like Sally has sometimes.
  • She looked so pretty, clad in a cornflower blue silk dress that matched her eyes, and wearing her hair in a complex plait; tiny ringlets framing her face.
  • Black strands were falling from her firm plait of hair, and her face looked ashen in the firelight.
1.1 archaic term for pleat.
Example sentences
  • The long train skirt is in a plait and trimmed up the aides with lace to the wrist and on in shell shape.


[with object]
1Form (hair or other material) into a plait or plaits.
Example sentences
  • He gently combed the tangles out of her hair and deftly plaited a long simple braid.
  • He had long coarse grey hair that was plaited in a braid down his back.
  • Her silky dark hair had been plaited into ten different braids, and then coiled together on top of her head.
1.1Make (something) by forming material into a plait or plaits.
Example sentences
  • This enables him to survey his ambitious narrative with the splendid omniscience he needs to plait the supple strands of his plot with all the skills of an Egyptian basket weaver.
  • The ceremony took various forms, but most ended with the sheaf being taken back to the farm where it was plaited into an intricate ‘corn dolly’ or ‘mell doll’.
  • Children plait them, knot them, and turn them into anything from friendship bracelets to tiny dragons.


Late Middle English: from Old French pleit 'a fold', based on Latin plicare 'to fold'. The word was formerly often pronounced like “plate,” which is the usual American pronunciation; since late Middle English there has arisen an alternative spelling plat, to which the current alternative pronunciation corresponds.

  • plight from Old English:

    In the traditional marriage ceremony the bride and groom each say ‘I plight thee my troth’, meaning ‘I pledge my word’. Plight means ‘to promise solemnly’, and pledge (Middle English) is probably a distant relative. Troth is an old variant of truth, meaning ‘giving your word’ and still preserved in betroth (Middle English). The other meaning of plight, ‘a predicament’, is from Old French plit ‘fold’, suggesting the idea of a difficult or complicated situation. Other words from plit include Middle English pliant (Late Middle English) literally ‘foldable’; and pliable (Late Middle English); pliers (mid 16th century) tools for bending things; and ply (Late Middle English) in the sense of ‘thickness’ as in plywood (early 20th century). (The other ply as in ply with drink, is simply a shortening of apply, see appliance). Pleat and plait (Middle English) are further relatives. Compliant (mid 17th century) looks as if it should be a relative, but its immediate source, to comply (early 17th century), originally came from Latin complere ‘to fulfil, accomplish’, although compliant later developed senses influenced by its similarity to pliant.

Words that rhyme with plait

at, bat, brat, cat, chat, cravat, drat, expat, fat, flat, frat, gat, gnat, hat, hereat, high-hat, howzat, lat, mat, matt, matte, Montserrat, Nat, outsat, pat, pit-a-pat, plat, prat, Rabat, rat, rat-tat, Sadat, sat, scat, Sebat, shabbat, shat, skat, slat, spat, splat, sprat, stat, Surat, tat, that, thereat, tit-for-tat, vat, whereat

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: plait

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