Definition of plot in English:

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Pronunciation: /plät/


1A plan made in secret by a group of people to do something illegal or harmful: [with infinitive]: there’s a plot to overthrow the government
More example sentences
  • I have no ulterior motives, no plots or secret schemes.
  • A bungling thief who masterminded a plot to defraud cashpoint customers by installing a camera in an ATM machine has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
  • Eight other terror suspects, cleared of the poison plot, were also illegal immigrants.
conspiracy, intrigue, secret plan;
2The main events of a play, novel, movie, or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence.
Example sentences
  • The plot of a film noir, generically speaking, is an ironic romance in which the knight's quest is driven by vice instead of virtue.
  • As promised in the title, the main plot of the novel revolves around a surgical operation of epic proportions.
  • The complex plot of the novel explores many things.
storyline, story, scenario, action, thread
formal diegesis
3A small piece of ground marked out for a purpose such as building or gardening: a vegetable plot
More example sentences
  • The original owners of Ellenborough Park also owned the surrounding land, which they sold off in plots for building purposes.
  • Over the last two months everybody at the school has been busy with the planting of a bog garden, a vegetable plot and a Spring Clean of the grounds.
  • Men in the garden weeding the vegetable plot, while others are tending to the animals meet us.
piece of ground, patch, area, tract, acreage, allotment, lot, plat, homesite
4A graph showing the relation between two variables.
Example sentences
  • Interpreting that information is not like interpreting a simple plot or graph.
  • Ternary plots are then produced to show the similarities of the populations in the database, in particular between those samples in the same population as the sample being identified.
  • One of the easiest ways to spot the patterns in the data is to produce ternary plots which emphasise how the elements in a sample are associated with one another.
4.1chiefly US A diagram, chart, or map.
Example sentences
  • Rather than compressing all of the information into a single diagram, plots represent the distribution of the quartet distance geometries.
  • Residual plots indicate a well-specified model where there is a lack of pattern between the standardized residuals and their predicted values.
  • In the contour plot, red indicates the most probable conformations.

verb (plots, plotting, plotted)

[with object]
1Secretly make plans to carry out (an illegal or harmful action): the two men are serving sentences for plotting a bomb campaign [no object]: Erica has been plotting against me all along
More example sentences
  • I think that when I sleep, or when I'm out doing whatever, they are secretly plotting against me.
  • France nurtured what was essentially a myth of a united people, secretly despising and plotting against the occupiers for five years.
  • If he is indeed plotting against us, his plans will be foiled.
plan, scheme, arrange, organize, hatch, concoct, devise, dream up
informal cook up
conspire, scheme, intrigue, collude, connive, machinate
2Devise the sequence of events in (a play, novel, movie, or similar work).
Example sentences
  • In answering a question about his collages he talks about why he could never plot a novel.
  • Is there a particular process when you begin plotting your work or does it differ?
  • I'm hoping I can divert my attention and go back to plotting my novel.
3Mark (a route or position) on a chart: he started to plot lines of ancient sites
More example sentences
  • Many hardboat skippers have PCs by the helm, displaying electronic charts, plotting their position from a GPS interface and even steering the boat's auto-pilot.
  • Furthermore, the bike can't stop to evaluate its position and plot a new route; everything must be done in real time.
  • Then it was back to the charts, where each team planned a route and then plotted a magnetic course to steer for each leg of the 13-mile trip to Block Island.
mark, chart, map, represent, graph
3.1Mark out or allocate (points) on a graph.
Example sentences
  • Surely the chaos game algorithm will plot the same point multiple times.
  • Approximately, only every fifth data point is actually plotted on the graphs.
  • The article abounds with graphs sporting unlabeled axes, imprecise axis scales, inaccurately plotted points, and confused methods explanations.
3.2Make (a curve) by marking out a number of points on a graph.
Example sentences
  • Survival curves were plotted and the significance of differences between life spans of strains was analyzed using the Mann-Whitney test.
  • Receiver operating characteristic curves were plotted for the early and late stages of the disease in both the areas.
  • You can plot a curve (a reaction function) showing the cost or benefit to firm A for each price.
3.3Illustrate by use of a graph: it is possible to plot fairly closely the rate at which recruitment of girls increased
More example sentences
  • The graph plots the cancer rate for each sex within 10-year age bands for the UK in 1999.
  • Page 7 of the PDF has a nice set of graphs that plot the measured personality characteristics as a function of age.
  • He holds up a graph plotting the dramatically dropping rates of the hormone over a woman's life, a drop that parallels the drop in estrogen levels.



lose the plot

informal Lose one’s ability to understand or cope with what is happening: many people believe that he is feeling the strain or has lost the plot
More example sentences
  • He never had any ambition to make tons of money, he just wanted to produce great ads, and when people couldn't understand his vision he'd totally lose the plot.
  • Sometimes I really think my parents have lost the plot.
  • The world around him was an illusion; he had lost the plot.

the plot thickens



Pronunciation: /ˈplätləs/
Example sentences
  • Like the novel, the movie is essentially plotless.
  • The film has been described as plotless, which is unfair.
  • Both film and play are essentially plotless, depending heavily on strong performances from the leading couple.


Late Old English (sense 3 of the noun), of unknown origin. The sense 'secret plan', dating from the late 16th century, is associated with Old French complot 'dense crowd, secret project', the same term being used occasionally in English from the mid 16th century Compare with plat1.

  • The first meaning of plot was ‘a small piece of ground’. The sense ‘secret plan’ dates from the late 16th century and was probably developed out of the sense ‘map, plan’ influenced by Old French complot ‘dense crowd, secret project’. Guy Fawkes' Gunpowder Plot of 1605 is thought to have spread the use of this sense. From another sense of plot, ‘the main sequence of events in a play, novel, or film’, comes the expression the plot thickens. The person to thank for it is George Villiers, the 2nd Duke of Buckingham, whose satirical drama The Rehearsal (1671) includes the line ‘Ay, now the plot thickens very much upon us.’

Words that rhyme with plot

allot, begot, Bernadotte, blot, bot, capot, clot, cocotte, cot, culotte, dot, forgot, garrotte (US garrote), gavotte, got, grot, hot, jot, knot, lot, Mayotte, motte, not, Ott, outshot, pot, rot, sans-culotte, Scot, Scott, shallot, shot, slot, snot, sot, spot, squat, stot, swat, swot, tot, trot, undershot, Wat, Watt, what, wot, yacht

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: plot

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