Definition of plug in English:

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Pronunciation: /plʌɡ/


1A piece of solid material fitting tightly into a hole and blocking it up: somewhere in the pipes there is a plug of ice blocking the flow
More example sentences
  • Continuing down this passageway, one enters the Ascending Corridor at a point past the blocking plugs that once sealed the entrance to the tomb.
  • Most often the blockage occurs in the urethra after a stone or a mixture of crystal, mucus, and other organic material forms a plug.
  • Lifting cables, each capable of carrying 900 tonnes, will subsequently be lowered from the pontoon and secured in the holes with steel plugs.
stopper, bung, cork, seal, spigot, spile;
North American  stopple
1.1A circular piece of metal, rubber, or plastic used to stop the plughole of a bath or basin and keep the water in it: she pulled out the plug and got out on to the sodden bath mat
More example sentences
  • Along the way you'll encounter bath plugs, rubber ducks and get the obligatory soaking from intermittent showers.
  • Its rather like pouring water into a bath without putting the plug in.
  • Then, when you're done, you pull out the plug and the water runs away.
1.2North American informal A baby’s dummy.
1.3A mass of solidified lava filling the neck of a volcano.
Example sentences
  • The landscape is scarred with great lumps of lava, volcanic plugs and long screes of volcanic soil, and there is also a vast barren sandy valley.
  • Geological Survey crews also observed a shift in the crater floor and on part of the 1,000-foot lava dome that essentially serves as a plug for magma, he said.
  • The landscape to the south is an array of volcanic plugs and glacial gouging.
1.4(In gardening) a young plant or clump of grass with a small mass of soil protecting its roots, for planting out.
Example sentences
  • An inexpensive way to start a new warm-season lawn or patch an existing one is to plant plugs or sprigs in late spring to early summer.
  • I plan to put a little topsoil and St. Augustine grass plugs in these bare spots.
  • This year all the bedding plants were in plugs and this method enhances quick take up on growth when transplanted.
2A device for making an electrical connection between an appliance and the mains, consisting of an insulated casing with metal pins that fit into holes in a socket: the cable is fitted with a two-pin plug
More example sentences
  • Try not to use extension leads and adaptor plugs; ideally each appliance should be plugged into its own socket.
  • The multimedia connector comes with plugs for your Firewire devices, microphone and speakers.
  • The company, which sells electrical wiring, plugs, sockets, switches, fans and heaters, is never going to be the sparkiest investment.
2.1A socket into which an electric plug can be fitted: the vacuum cleaner cord snaked away to a hidden plug
More example sentences
  • Inventor Adrian Oldham has designed a gadget aimed at preventing children playing with plugs and electric sockets.
  • Then I found it was plugged into a plug under the sink.
  • An inverter module with a cigarette lighter plug on it would allow the things to be used in cars, boats, and RVs.
2.2 short for spark plug.
Example sentences
  • I immediately changed the oil (single most important maintenance task) plugs, distributor cap, rotor arm, and friendly independent VW specialist fixed the exhaust.
  • The merger, however, also gave the group the chance to compare notes with their Daimler colleagues, specifically about the use of two plugs per cylinder.
  • Consulting the spark plug manufacturers regarding the plug's heat range can be of great help.
3 informal A piece of publicity promoting a product, event, or establishment: he threw in a plug, boasting that the restaurant offered many entrées for under £5
More example sentences
  • Add to that editorial advertising, plugs for products in articles in publications of all kinds, and you know you (the consumer) are being assailed from all sides.
  • Product plugs and placements not only reflect societal trends, their entire purpose is to convince consumers that they ‘need’ the good or service portrayed.
  • I never wanted my blog to be a place where I make shameful plugs for products.
piece of publicity, favourable mention, advertisement, promotion, recommendation, mention, good word, commercial
informal hype, push, puff, ad, boost, ballyhoo
British informal advert
4A piece of tobacco cut from a larger cake for chewing: they sold chewing tobacco in bars and plugs
More example sentences
  • They both drink from Tom's liquor flask and Casey chews a plug of tobacco.
  • They treated the mules as pets, fed them treats, cleaned their stables, treated their sores, and even shared plugs of tobacco with them.
  • A woman stays around the store till she get old as Methuselah and still can't cut a little thing like a plug of tobacco!
wad, quid, twist, chew
North American informal chaw
rare pigtail, cud, cake
4.1 [mass noun] (also plug tobacco) Tobacco in large cakes designed to be cut for chewing: he was always chewing plug and cracking jokes
More example sentences
  • The tobacco industry remained one of the important industries at the prison: in June 1953 alone, 11,426 pounds of plug tobacco and 15,623 pounds of smoking tobacco were produced under the name ‘Little Egypt.’
  • By 1870 Cincinnati was the number one producer in the United States of an eclectic array of goods: carriages, glycerin, wine, whiskey, plug tobacco, and coffins.
  • The activities of the factory at Seville were concentrated in three main product lines: cigars, cigarettes, and plug tobacco.
5 Fishing A lure with one or more hooks attached.
Example sentences
  • Carrying plugs festooned with treble hooks is a price that is inevitably paid by the penitent plug fisherman.
  • A little before six o'clock, we were casting plugs about a mile above St. Anthony Falls when the Patrick Gannaway, a towboat, came chugging upriver with two barges.
  • The big rod flexed again and again, driving the plug across the water.
6 short for fireplug.
7North American informal A tired or old horse.
Example sentences
  • He was a hopeless plug and never ran in the money.

verb (plugs, plugging, plugged)

[with object]
1Block or fill in (a hole or cavity): trucks arrived loaded with gravel to plug the hole and clear the road
More example sentences
  • Thousands of local authority workers could face cuts to their pension benefits as all 15 councils in Yorkshire and the Humber try to find a way to plug the gaping black hole in their schemes.
  • Governor Gray Davis took steps last week to plug some of the holes in that budget, but the measures have been painful.
  • Once people understand what is going on in their economy they will be more interested in plugging some of the holes in the leaky economic bucket.
stop (up), seal (up/off), close (up/off), cork, stopper, bung, block (up/off), dam (up), fill (up), pack, stuff;
North American  stopple
1.1Fill: the new sanctions are meant to plug the gaps in the trade embargo
More example sentences
  • Special Constables are voluntary police officers who give up their time to plug the hole in police resources.
  • Now that they have managed to plug the gap, the Dons are letting him leave Pittodrie.
  • Instead of bailing water out of the leaky vessel, Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown are trying to plug the leak.
1.2Insert (something) into an opening so as to fill it: the baby plugged his thumb into his mouth
2 informal Mention (a product, event, or establishment) publicly in order to promote it: during the show he plugged his new record
More example sentences
  • Wind her up and she plugs your product on promotion tours and TV - all in an ‘honest, objective’ endorsement.
  • Who needs television when the products and programmes are plugged endlessly on our stages?
  • The firm will send promotional mailings next month plugging Boston and Cambridge to its top 15,000 British travel customers.
publicize, promote, give publicity to, advertise, mention, give a mention to, write up, build up, beat/bang the drum for, commend, draw attention to
informal hype, hype up, push, puff, boost
3North American informal Shoot or hit (someone or something): he got plugged in the head while he was taking a nap
More example sentences
  • Relieved to have a clear target who would actually notice being shot, Magnum plugged him in the upper arm, spinning him over the coffee table.
  • You defer to the man you fear because he'll plug you if you don't.
  • If anyone plugs him, it'd ‘be appreciated and rewarded’.
shoot, hit, shoot down, gun down, pick off
informal blast, pump full of lead
4 [no object, with adverbial] informal Proceed steadily and laboriously with a journey or task: during the years of poverty, he plugged away at his writing
More example sentences
  • After graduating, Grant dabbled briefly in advertising, writing copy for Brylcreem and Red Stripe beer, but plugged away at an acting career in regional theatre.
  • In between times, he has plugged away at a steady pace, approaching his work with a measured, thorough approach more dogged than dashing.
  • As full time approached they plugged away at the home defence without seriously threatening to break it, until at last the backs found space.
toil, labour, toil away, plod away, work away, slave away, soldier on with, persevere with, persist with, keep on with, plough on with, hammer away, grind away
informal slog away, beaver away, peg away
archaic drudge away


plug the gap (or gaps)

Provide something that is lacking in a particular situation: the government is to borrow £29 billion to plug the gap in public spending
More example sentences
  • The Treasury is understood to have allocated an extra 60 million to DCMS to help plug the gap.
  • Meanwhile, Lee rushed up reserves to plug the gap.
  • Britain's banks are in no position to plug the gap.

Phrasal verbs


plug something in

Connect an electrical appliance to the mains by inserting a plug in a socket: she plugged in the electric kettle and spooned coffee into the percolator
More example sentences
  • Since then, I always check for water on the floor when I plug appliances in.
  • To start, simply mount the transformer near a grounded outdoor electrical outlet and plug it in.
  • When I first purchased my computer, I thought that all I needed to do was plug it in, connect it to the phone line, and everything would be OK.

plug into

(Of an electrical appliance) be connected to another appliance by a lead inserted in a socket: you can buy a camera which will plug into your video cassette recorder
More example sentences
  • Very simplified, it's the speed that the CPU socket, where it plugs into the motherboard, runs at.
  • These CPUs plugged into a socket called Socket 754.
  • The receiver plugs into the controller socket and must match the channel number you're using.
2.1Gain or have access to a system of computerized information: we plug into the research facilities available at the institute
More example sentences
  • If British troops are to fight ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the Americans, then they have to be plugged into the same hi-tech systems.
  • It seems that our whole economy is being run by groups of people gathered in grey buildings on the edges of towns plugged into phone systems.
  • And that is what we're doing with the police department, being able to plug into their system of receivers that enhance the signal under those difficult conditions and send it on.
2.2Become knowledgeable about and involved with: the workshops are a great way to plug into radical ideas and radical groups
More example sentences
  • Far from being crazy, the oil executive had simply been citing what was common knowledge to anyone properly plugged into the pace of events in southern Africa.
  • For Lischner, the experience of being plugged into an existing team showed other potential hiring weaknesses.
  • In the world of elite sport, knowledge is power, as increasingly coaches and administrators are plugging into high-tech strategies to boost performance.



Pronunciation: /ˈplʌɡə/
Example sentences
  • In America we've been paying for people to play our music on the radio and in the UK we have pluggers who get paid a lot to try and get the record on the radio.
  • ‘There are still a lot of Anglophiles around,’ one US radio plugger told me last week.
  • A former record plugger (his artists included Adam Ant and The Clash), policeman and now Vicar, these days he can add best-selling author to his CV.


Early 17th century: from Middle Dutch and Middle Low German plugge, of unknown ultimate origin.

Words that rhyme with plug

bug, chug, Doug, drug, dug, fug, glug, hug, jug, lug, mug, pug, rug, shrug, slug, smug, snug, thug, trug, tug

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: plug

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