Definition of plant in English:

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Pronunciation: /plɑːnt/


1A living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses, typically growing in a permanent site, absorbing water and inorganic substances through its roots, and synthesizing nutrients in its leaves by photosynthesis using the green pigment chlorophyll.
Example sentences
  • Eventually, it melts to supply water and nutrients to plants and aquatic organisms.
  • The satellites monitor the green pigment in plants, or chlorophyll, which leads to estimates of phytoplankton amounts.
  • As they grow, green plants and trees fix carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it to tissue.
herb, flower, vegetable, shrub, weed;
(plants) greenery, flora, vegetation, undergrowth
rare herbage, verdure
1.1A small plant, as distinct from a shrub or tree: garden plants
More example sentences
  • Still, the same rule can be applied in a household garden when planting herbaceous plants and smaller shrubs.
  • However, in a few cases, seeds of plants cultivated in botanical gardens were also used.
  • The front garden also has numerous plants and shrubs.

Plants differ from animals in lacking specialized sense organs, having no capacity for voluntary movement, having cell walls, and growing to suit their surroundings rather than having a fixed body plan.

2A place where an industrial or manufacturing process takes place: a giant car plant
More example sentences
  • The tariffs that protected these industries also encouraged heavy manufacturing, so that giant car plants were located on the fringe of the postwar city.
  • One of the most expensive departments in a car plant is the paint shop, so DeLorean saved the money and pretended that the brushed stainless steel finish was a style feature.
  • Avoid the oil refineries and industrial plants around the commercial shipping channel.
factory, works, foundry, mill, workshop, shop, yard, industrial unit, business unit
2.1 [mass noun] Machinery used in an industrial or manufacturing process: inadequate investment in new plant
More example sentences
  • The company auctions excess inventory such as industrial plant and machinery online, and claims the process is secure for both vendors and bidders.
  • The appellants were involved in the design, manufacture, supply and installation of plant and machinery for the steel manufacturing industry.
  • He says it has also set annual targets for operational efficiency, including plant and machinery downtime.
machinery, machines, equipment, apparatus, appliances, gear
3A person placed in a group as a spy or informer: we thought he was a CIA plant spreading disinformation
More example sentences
  • Elizabeth was convinced that Paul was a CIA plant there to spy on her.
  • I could tell she was a plant the minute she started speaking.
spy, informant, informer, undercover agent, secret agent, agent, mole, infiltrator, operative
North American informal spook
3.1A thing put among someone’s belongings to incriminate or compromise them.
Example sentences
  • Within two days they were exploring the possibility that the note was a plant and that the saboteurs might not be a terrorist group after all, but possibly a disgruntled railroad employee.
4 Snooker A shot in which the cue ball is made to strike one of two touching or nearly touching balls with the result that the second is potted.
Example sentences
  • He then pulls out an impeccable plant - one red off another - into the bottom left hand pocket.


[with object]
1Put (a seed, bulb, or plant) in the ground so that it can grow: we planted a lot of fruit trees
More example sentences
  • For the last two years Joshua, a year four pupil at Moorhouse Primary School, has helped her to plant seeds, bulbs and plants and to tidy the garden.
  • In this paper we report on patterns of growth rings formed in four species of alpine forbs that were grown from seed and were planted in a restoration experiment on an alpine ski run in the Swiss Alps.
  • Now is the time to plan and plant flower bulbs for the holidays for both gifts and decorations.
sow, scatter, seed, put in the ground;
bed out, set out, transplant
1.1Cover or supply (an area of land) with plants: the garden is planted with herbs
More example sentences
  • In August, open areas can be planted with perennial cover crops such as clover or sainfoin, sometimes called esparcet or holy clover.
  • We had a large kitchen garden and occasionally planted a small field of corn but we did not maintain a high operation farm like the majority of our neighbors.
  • A bit of a waste of a resource when we could be planting plantations on cleared land, instead of chopping down magnificent forests.
1.2 (plant something out) Place a plant in the ground out of doors so it can grow, especially after growing it from seed in an indoor environment: the foxgloves are grown from seed and planted out in the autumn
More example sentences
  • Pot into individual containers once they are big enough and grow on until they can be planted out.
  • The task for the day was filling out the soil in the new bed by the side of the house and planting it out with low growing shrubs, including a horizontal juniper that's intended to grow out over the next couple of years and fill the entire bed.
  • In spring, plant them out after the last threat of night frost.
1.3 informal Bury (someone): it was raining when we planted him
More example sentences
  • She has threatened him, who apparently is a very nice chap, that if he takes any more of our votes, she's going to plant him in the ground with his trees.
  • He won't be mentioned too very much here due to the fact that we planted him 13 years ago and he's just been no fun since.
2 [with object and adverbial of place] Set or place in a particular position: he planted himself squarely in front of her she planted a kiss on his cheek
More example sentences
  • Next thing I know a quite attractive dark haired woman, in her late twenties I think, has wrapped her arms around my neck and planted a very solid kiss on my lips.
  • Then he grabbed me by the head and planted an enormous red kiss on my cheek.
  • He swivels his head towards her, planting a light sweet kiss on her lips.
put, place, set, position, station, situate, settle, stick, fix
informal plonk
2.1Establish (an idea) in someone’s mind: the seed of doubt is planted in his mind
More example sentences
  • After the germ of the idea was first planted in her mind by the deserted camp at Spring Hill, she set to researching Cotswold life during wartime years.
  • This new idea which had been planted subconsciously in his mind by a man with no reading or writing skills, began to give him a healthy respect for himself.
  • I could accidentally plant suggestions in your mind, or take you someplace dangerous.
insert, impress, imprint, instil, put, place;
implant, introduce, sow the seeds of, fix, establish, embed, root, lodge
2.2Secretly place (a bomb that is set to go off at a later time): several incendiary devices were planted in stores
More example sentences
  • In a separate incident in Jebaliya, the army said it shot a man who was throwing grenades and planting a bomb.
  • Sources said that two time bombs were planted to destroy the antenna which exploded simultaneously.
  • His plan failed when he ran out of money for explosives and his conspirators planted the bomb next to the wrong support structure within the basement of the building.
2.3Put or hide (something) among someone’s belongings to compromise or incriminate the owner: they claimed that the drugs had been planted on them by police
More example sentences
  • I decided to plant an imposter cava among the seven authentic champagnes.
  • After all, if someone has gained control of a suspect's computer couldn't incriminated material be planted?
  • She probably made him plant false evidence to hide what really happened that day.
hide, place secretly, conceal, secrete
2.4Send (someone) to join a group or organization to act as a spy or informer: he managed to plant an agent in his war council
More example sentences
  • He was in fact an undercover officer planted by the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office.
  • As for him, he's convinced that he is an agent who's been planted to subvert India.
  • They combined nobility of thought with practical incapacity; they did not spot the Gestapo informer planted on them.
2.5Found or establish (a colony, city, or community): he was commissioned to plant the order in England
More example sentences
  • Mission groups travel outside the city to plant and nurture new faith communities.
  • At the same time, however, Alexander planted new Greek cities across his empire.
  • They talked occasionally of planting colonies, but were diverted by the war.
2.6Deposit (young fish, spawn, oysters, etc.) in a river or lake.
Example sentences
  • This indicated that some of the original fifteen thousand young fish planted in 1871 had survived and matured.
  • Later, he did not take it for granted that the fish in a river could simply be planted as needed.
  • Crawfish has been planted in many lakes in Sweden, to ensure some fun times and some home-cooked crawfish.



Example sentences
  • Available in four colors (exposed aggregate, buff/tan, gray, and terra cotta), the system consists of different plantable retaining blocks and a Posi-Dura geosynthetic fabric system.
  • Ferretti says all vine crops can be transplanted if plantable containers or plastic pop-out containers are used, so gardeners can buy starter plants from garden centers or grow their own from seed.
  • The increasingly popular living trees are in short supply, so growth prospects for this business are strong, especially since the farm uses only 100 of its 250 plantable acres.


Example sentences
  • When the plantlets are ready to transplant, they are simply removed by pushing the base of the cell and dislodging soil and rootball together, avoiding tedious pricking out and minimising root disturbance.
  • Watering will eventually cause cardboard egg boxes to disintegrate, but by then, the young plantlets' roots should have grown sufficiently to bond everything together.
  • Even back in my days as a horticultural hooligan, I only ever used peat to create a home-made compost for sowing seeds, never for potting plantlets or decorating borders.


Pronunciation: /ˈplɑːntlʌɪk/
Example sentences
  • Because both groups include organisms that have both animal-like and plant-like characteristics, the classification and phylogentic relationships within the groups are beset with complexities.
  • Red tide, she says, is a natural phenomenon caused by a microscopic plant-like single cell organism (a dinoflagellate) that blooms annually as part of its growth cycle.
  • The cellulose cell walls formed during their development, and the presence of reproductive spores are plant-like, whereas the cell movements involved in their morphogenesis are animal-like.


Old English plante 'seedling', plantian (verb), from Latin planta 'sprout, cutting' (later influenced by French plante) and plantare 'plant, fix in a place'.

  • Old English plante meant ‘seedling’ from Latin planta ‘sprout, cutting’. Use of the word in the phrase plant yourself somewhere dates from the early 18th century. Later that century plant came to be used for ‘things installed’, such as machinery or large pieces of apparatus. The related plantation (Late Middle English) described the action of planting seeds. It came to be an ‘estate for the cultivation of crops such as coffee or tobacco’ (early 18th century), then ‘the settling of people in a conquered or dominated country’: in the late 19th century it described the establishment of English landowners in Ireland.

Words that rhyme with plant

aren't, aslant, aunt, can't, chant, courante, détente, enchant, entente, grant, implant, Nantes, shan't, slant, supplant, transplant, underplant

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: plant

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