Definition of plaza in English:
nounchiefly North American
- The Learning Corridor includes five separate buildings, large public plazas and green spaces, and a parking garage.
- We have some lovely plazas, squares, public markets, and parks.
- A plaza joins a public esplanade which is planned to eventually connect all of Tacoma's waterfront.
- At a service plaza near Mishawaka and Kokomo, a tourist brochure caught my eye.
- Now he was on the road and had gone to Truckers' Church at a service plaza that morning.
- That didn't stop us from going out to the northwest to our open field five miles south of the Okahumpka service plaza on the Florida turnpike.
late 17th century: from Spanish, literally 'place'.
place from (Old English):
If you have been to Italy or Spain you have probably visited the piazza or plaza of a town. These words have the same origin as English place and French place ‘(public) square’, namely Latin platea ‘open space’, from Greek plateia hodos ‘broad way’. From the early Middle Ages, when it was adopted from French, place superseded stow (found in place names such as Stow on the Wold and Padstow) and stead, as in Wanstead. The sense ‘a space that can be occupied’ developed in Middle English from this. The orderly person's mantra a place for everything and everything in its place goes back to the 17th century, but the modern formulation first appears in the 1840s in Captain Frederick Marryat's nautical yarn Masterman Ready: ‘In a well-conducted man-of-war…every thing in its place, and there is a place for every thing.’ In 1897 the German Chancellor Prince Bernhard von Bülow, made a speech in the Reichstag in which he declared, ‘we desire to throw no one into the shade [in East Asia], but we also demand our place in the sun’. As a result the expression a place in the sun, ‘a position of favour or advantage’, has been associated with German nationalism. However, it is recorded much earlier, and is traceable back to the writings of the 17th-century French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal.
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