Definition of place in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /plās/


1A particular position or point in space: there were still some remote places in the world the monastery was a peaceful place that street was no place for a lady
More example sentences
  • Residents say the area was once a peaceful place to live, but has been ruined by unruly youths.
  • Most nodded approvingly, for this region has a big place in the hearts of many Azeris.
  • Aberdeen, as a city and as a club, still have a big place in my heart.
location, site, spot, setting, position, situation, area, region, locale;
technical locus
country, state, area, region, town, city;
locality, district
literary clime
1.1A particular point on a larger surface or in a larger object or area: he lashed out and cut the policeman’s hand in three places
More example sentences
  • The surface had failed in places, and this had allowed grass and weeds to come through.
  • A lot of heavy lorries use this road, and the surface is terrible in places.
  • Even now, although this land is being developed in places in the village, there are still vast areas left undeveloped.
1.2A building or area used for a specified purpose or activity: the town has many excellent eating places
More example sentences
  • What we have now is a splendid modern building, a place of worship and a resource centre for the whole community.
  • They applied for Planning permission to use the building as a place of worship and I went to the public meeting.
  • There are huge pedestrian walk ways and squares with theatres, museums and places to eat and drink.
1.3 informal A person’s home: what about dinner at my place?
More example sentences
  • I'm still nursing my head after a heavy night at my place with dinner guests.
  • Now he is staying with friends, until his place is habitable once again.
  • It turned out the man had several places in the big city, which surprised her quite a bit.
home, house, flat, apartment;
accommodations, property, pied-à-terre;
rooms, quarters
informal pad, digs
formal residence, abode, dwelling (place), domicile, habitation
1.4A point in a book or other text reached by a reader at a particular time: I must have lost my place in the script
More example sentences
  • It's a great way to make your point but I was at a really good spot in my book and the shoes just made me lose my place.
2A portion of space available or designated for or being used by someone: they hurried to their places at the table he was watching from his place across the room
More example sentences
  • Forty places for cars are available in the underground car park under the supermarket.
  • So they said they would tell me when a place became available for me to sit until a table became available.
  • He had saved a place for him in the middle of the table and was guarding it diligently.
seat, chair, space
2.1A vacancy or available position: she won a place to study German at the university
More example sentences
  • She has been offered a place to study politics and modern history at Oxford.
  • Around the time of my diagnosis I had also been offered a place to study for an MPhil in philosophy.
  • Seven sixth form students from Bootham School in York have been offered places to study at Cambridge or Oxford universities.
job, position, post, appointment, situation, office;
2.2The regular or proper position of something: lay each slab in place
More example sentences
  • In comes a calm, regionally balanced economy with the housing market in its proper place.
  • The cold, round meal tray is impassively in front, with two bowls and two pairs of chopsticks placed in their proper places.
  • Even if such indicators are present, they are not placed at the proper places.
2.3A person’s rank or status: occupation structures a person’s place in society
More example sentences
  • There's a mountain of work to be done if they are to get back their rightful place in senior ranks.
  • People go to jail these days, and when they come out they blithely resume their place in society.
  • If you receive more cards than you send, your place in society is assured.
status, position, standing, rank, niche
dated estate, station
2.4 [usually with negative] A right or privilege resulting from someone’s role or position: I’m sure she has a story to tell, but it’s not my place to ask
More example sentences
  • He said it was not his place to defend his role, but that he had represented the family to the best of his ability.
  • He was reluctant to become involved in the issue, stating it was not his place to comment.
  • It's not my place to give advice on how artists should set themselves up.
responsibility, duty, job, task, role, function, concern, affair, charge;
right, privilege, prerogative
2.5The role played by or importance attached to someone or something in a particular context: the place of computers in improving office efficiency varies between companies
More example sentences
  • All three have their important place in the law of torts, but the liability attached to them will differ.
  • Does the independent press have an important place in literary life or is it little more than vanity publishing?
  • I think flood irrigation is going to have an important place here for a long time.
3A position in a sequence, in particular.
Example sentences
  • He dropped more than 50 Order of Merit places to 74th and managed only one top-ten finish.
  • He used the image of a guest at a banquet who chooses the lowest place in order to be seen being elevated to a higher one.
  • Inevitably, the victory earned him the order of merit title, swapping places with Bradley who had captured it last year.
3.1A position in a contest: his score was good enough to leave him in ninth place
More example sentences
  • With two games to go Spurs were seventh but at 5pm today we found ourselves out in the cold in ninth place.
  • Defeat did little for Reds' hopes of snatching the fifth and final play-off place.
  • The goal for everyone is to get into the Premiership and I expect the play-off places to be very tightly contested.
3.2North American The second position, especially in a horse race.
Example sentences
  • He comes in after a monster effort last time out that only ended in a place showing.
3.3British Any of the first three or sometimes four positions in a race (used especially of the second, third, or fourth positions).
Example sentences
  • He has an impressive National record, with two second places, a third and a fourth but has yet to capture the big prize itself.
  • In qualifying we clinched the pole position, and in the race, second and third places.
  • Pole position and a second place in the race made a great weekend for him and for the whole team.
3.4The degree of priority given to something: accurate reportage takes second place to lurid detail
More example sentences
  • Beauty and history usually takes second place to money and progress (if you want to call it that).
3.5The position of a figure in a series indicated in decimal or similar notation, especially one after the decimal point: calculate the ratios to one decimal place
More example sentences
  • Convert the decimal to a percentage by moving the decimal point two places to the right.
  • In their rush to smile for the cameras, someone apparently bumped a decimal point six places to the right.
  • Our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals.
4(In place names) a square or a short street: our new restaurant is in Hilliard Place
More example sentences
  • A memorial was erected to her in St Martin's Place, off Trafalgar Square, London.
  • Located at 15 Westland Place, Fifteen is just a short walk from Old Street Tube station.
  • On the west pavement at 7 Croall Place is Borland's Darts and Television Emporium.
4.1A country house with its grounds.
Example sentences
  • Foots Cray Place was the home of the one-time Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nicholas Vansittart, Lord Bexley.
  • Grove Place was the home of John de la Grave in 1296.


[with object]
1Put in a particular position: a newspaper had been placed beside my plate
More example sentences
  • Yesterday the memorial was roped off, and a wreath had been placed beside it.
  • I crossed my legs and placed myself beside him on the bed, the mattress sinking a little under weight.
  • The Queen gestured to a tray that had been placed beside the bed filled with all sorts of food.
put (down), set (down), lay, deposit, position, plant, rest, stand, station, situate, leave
informal stick, dump, park, plonk, pop, plunk
1.1Cause to be in a particular situation: enemy officers were placed under arrest you are not placing yourself under any obligation
More example sentences
  • A prisoner may not be placed in a situation that can endanger him or her or otherwise result in physical or other harm.
  • She not only placed herself in the position of telling lies, but endangered the lives of children for personal gain.
  • Lecturers have been placed in the position where they are not so much leaders as followers of their students.
1.2Used to express the attitude someone has toward someone or something: I am not able to place any trust in you
More example sentences
  • I give both of them a high five for placing quality of life over signing for top dollar.
  • To attain these goals, emphasis must be placed on the quality of training of teachers at the primary and secondary levels.
  • How much emphasis has been placed on qualitative research methodology as opposed to its application?
put, lay, set, invest
1.3 (be placed) Used to indicate the degree of advantage or convenience enjoyed by someone or something as a result of their position or circumstances: [with infinitive]: the company is well placed to seize the opportunity
More example sentences
  • He was best placed to take advantage and went on to win from Charlie with McAlpin third.
  • He, with his rugged good looks and background, was ideally placed to take advantage of this trend.
  • He thinks that Britain is uniquely placed to exploit the advantages of its genetic diversity.
2Find a home or employment for: the children were placed with foster parents the agency had placed 3,000 people in full-time jobs
More example sentences
  • The family made the decision not to contact police until she gave birth to a baby girl, who was immediately placed with foster parents.
  • He was taken into care before being placed with foster parents.
  • In the same vein, the entity charged with placing redundant workers into employment, has not improved.
house with, billet to;
allocate to, assign to, appoint to
2.1Dispose of (something, especially shares) by selling to a customer.
Example sentences
  • In effect, this means that if there is any difficulty in placing the shares, he and his associates will put up the money.
  • "The controlling shareholder is placing the shares before the deal is completed, " he said.
  • It also plans to raise €8 million by placing over 53 million shares, which he has committed to buy if no new investors emerge.
2.2Arrange for the recognition and implementation of (an order, bet, etc.): they placed a contract for three boats
More example sentences
  • This time at a lower register which is both more commanding and better suited to an auditory range ruined by years placing bets at the dog track at Concreton.
  • If an offer, will CostPlus be in breach of contract in attempting to increase the price after Philip has placed an order?
  • Check with the manufacturer for the exact amount when placing your order.
2.3Order or obtain a connection for (a telephone call) through an operator.
Example sentences
  • A precedent has been set that thuggish bigots can dictate who plays in a football match by placing one threatening telephone call to the BBC.
  • The Upper Arlington Fire Division placed a call for a NAS-T Fire Investigation response.
  • Sometimes people living in the same city prefer to keep in touch with each other through e-mail or text-messaging rather then meeting in person or placing a phone call.
3Identify or classify as being of a specified type or as holding a specified position in a sequence or hierarchy: a survey placed the company 13th for achievement
More example sentences
  • In that survey Portlaoise was placed 18th in the league and deemed moderately littered.
  • The annual survey placed Egg, HSBC and Nationwide in the top three spots.
  • Frequently, however, it was difficult to determine where in the natural hierarchy a creature should be placed.
rank, order, grade, class, classify, categorize;
put, set, assign
3.1 [with object, usually with negative] Remember where one has seen or how one comes to recognize (someone or something): she eventually said she couldn’t place him
More example sentences
  • Listeners are invited to take part in an audio game in which they must identify and place the sounds they hear.
  • His words that morning had placed him in her mind, and she prayed for his safety as the wall began to crumble.
  • Still, I couldn't place her but even her clothing, a worn leather jacket and a red knit scarf, had a certain familiarity.
identify, recognize, remember, put a name to, pin down;
locate, pinpoint
3.2 (be placed) British Achieve a specified position in a race: he was placed eleventh in the long individual race
More example sentences
  • He has won twenty-four of these races and has been placed between second and fourth in the others.
  • He was also placed fourth in the individual race whilst she was third in the Year 8 girls' race.
  • The two horses had been nicely placed throughout the race with the favourite Our Vic being led down by some poor jumping.
3.3 [no object] Be among the first three in a race (or the first three or four in the UK).
Example sentences
  • He has won four of 13 starts, placing in seven other races, and has earned $190,190.
  • A top-class swimmer and cross-country runner as a junior, she won the London Triathlon in 2001 and is now placing consistently well in World Cup events.
  • Though her piece wasn't chosen as the cover, she said placing among the finalists inspired her to explore her talent.



give place to

Be succeeded or replaced by.
Example sentences
  • The concept of charity thus gives place to that of justice.
  • Comradeship gives place to a chastened individuality.
  • Opportunistic approaches should give place to strategic approaches that are firmly rooted in sustainable business practices.

go places

informal Visit places; travel.
Example sentences
  • I get to go places because I travel with my dad sometimes.
  • Often it is because more people are travelling on the roads, going places and doing things, and not always concentrating on the job of driving but focussing on their destination and what they will do when they get there.
  • Soon they'll be retired and I thought that was the point of being retired - to be able to travel, visit family, go places they hadn't had time to visit while employed.
2.1Be increasingly successful.
Example sentences
  • ‘This is one young kid who is definitely going places,’ said the Limerick Leader's television critic.
  • I can't help but feel that this band is definitely going places.
  • We saw them in Barfly the other day, and they are definitely going places.

in place

1Working or ready to work; established.
Example sentences
  • It is hoped that a new model to calculate fees will be established and in place by next year.
  • Once my furnishings were in place and the draperies ordered it was too late to change my mind anyway.
  • Arrangements would be put in place to make sure he was kept away from patients who did not wish to see him.
ready, set up, all set, established, arranged, in order
2North American Not traveling any distance: running in place
More example sentences
  • Like hamsters on an exercise wheel, we ran in place, facing a long mirror and staring at ourselves.
in position, in situ

in place of

Instead of.
Example sentences
  • In place of regulations, guidance is likely to be issued to schools to follow before reaching a decision.
  • In place of jammed highways, the city will have an emerald necklace of parkland.
  • In place of high walls and legions of armed guards, security largely depended on a metal door with a padlock.
instead of, rather than, as a substitute for, as a replacement for, in exchange for, in lieu of;
in someone's stead

keep someone in his (or her) place

Keep someone from becoming presumptuous.
Example sentences
  • Forcefully taken away from this home, which probably never felt quite comfortable, she is now recreating it as a useless cage that keeps her in her place as an immigrant.
  • As much as I love him, keeping him in his place on the show kept me on my toes.
  • From his perspective this will just be another in a long run of attempts to keep him in his place by Downing Street.

out of place

Not in the proper position; disarranged.
Example sentences
  • He is so suave he won't run for fear of getting a strand of hair out of place.
  • What seems more likely is that he is now so celebrated by the establishment that he is forgiven the odd pint or hair out of place.
  • Another girl decided she had to re-do her hair every time it fell out of place.
out of position, out of order, in disarray, disarranged, in a mess, messy, topsy-turvy, muddled
6.1In a setting where one is or feels inappropriate or incongruous.
Example sentences
  • His diving technique would certainly not be out of place in an Olympic pool.
  • He said the distance from neighbouring properties was acceptable and the design of the new building would be out of place.
  • Snow wouldn't have been out of place and I remember always longing for a white Christmas.
inappropriate, unsuitable, unseemly, improper, untoward, out of keeping, unbecoming, wrong
incongruous, out of one's element, like a fish out of water;
uncomfortable, uneasy

place in the sun

A position of favor or advantage.
Example sentences
  • The Minstermen deserve their current place in the sun and with so many positives to come from Saturday's showing who's to say it won't last beyond the end of summer.
  • Of course, the big silver symbol of hurling success was conspicuous by its absence but, judging from the comments made on stage, one can take for certain that Cork will reclaim their place in the sun as fast as is humanly possible.
  • Perhaps he really was only seeking what he sometimes said he was - the return of territory, the unification of the Germanic peoples, a place in the sun - and not world conquest.

put oneself in someone's place

Consider a situation from someone’s point of view.
Example sentences
  • When you know someone in the injured player's family, the tragedy is brought closer to ‘home’, magnified if you like, and you begin to put yourself in the player's place.
  • I know Ministers have a lot of paperwork but put yourself in her place.
  • I often find myself, both in this blog and in real life, asking people (particularly childless ones) to put themselves in my place before judging me too harshly.

put someone in his (or her) place

Deflate or humiliate someone regarded as being presumptuous.
Example sentences
  • He figures in a walk-on role in the drama of the Nathadwara artists, one of whom he appears to have crushed by decisively putting him in his place.
  • He then claims that he was put in his place by Maggie, the writer's aunt, who ran a shop in the town.
  • There is one, for example, The Actress's Tale, in which a famous actress comes to York for Ascot and she is put in her place by the people of York.

take place

Example sentences
  • Two meetings of the steering group behind the proposal have already taken place.
  • The surface was ready to play on so quickly because the settlement of the soil had already taken place in Yorkshire.
  • Much of what economists do is analyse the statistics of what has already taken place.
happen, occur, come about, transpire, crop up, materialize, arise, go down
literary come to pass, befall, betide

take one's place

Take up the physical position or status in society that is correct or due for one.
Example sentences
  • Just because you have passed a few exams and ticked a few boxes, it doesn't mean that you are in an ideal position to take your place in society.
  • Kevin could be perfectly positioned to take his place in the dark reign of hackers and spammers.
  • Ultimately when I retired there were plenty of them in position to take my place.

take the place of

Example sentences
  • Her last studio album Medulla was recorded a cappella and had her multi-layering her voice to create an audacious wall-of-sound in which the human voice took the place of all the instruments.
  • An obvious annoyance is the way English is seeping into Japanese, often taking the place of perfectly good native words as users try to be fashionable.
  • The shiny black pant is really taking the place of where jeans and white jeans and black jeans use to be.
replace, stand in for, substitute for, act for, fill in for, cover for, relieve



Example sentences
  • It's set in America, though we actually filmed it in the Isle of Man and London, with settings that look very American but also have a placeless, timeless quality.
  • Osian's charm is its placeless, timeless, colonial bush-camp feel, where you stay in traditional white canvas tents (with real beds and bathrooms) ride camels away from the hordes, dine al fresco, and wind up listening to blues in the bar.
  • Conscience, imagination, and vision are sometimes called timeless, placeless, and so on because they transcend the locality but not the reality of individual debates; they are eternally relevant.


Middle English: from Old French, from an alteration of Latin platea 'open space', from Greek plateia (hodos) 'broad (way)'.

  • 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.

Words that rhyme with place

abase, ace, apace, backspace, base, bass, brace, case, chase, dace, efface, embrace, encase, enchase, enlace, face, grace, interlace, interspace, in-your-face, lace, mace, misplace, outface, outpace, pace, plaice, race, space, Thrace, trace, upper case

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: place

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.