Definition of plate in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /pleɪt/


1A flat dish, typically circular and made of china, from which food is eaten or served: he pushed his empty plate to one side and sipped his wine a dinner plate
More example sentences
  • A pile of rugs and blankets lay within, pillar candles perched all about, set on dinner plates from the china closet.
  • Empty plates are warmed before food is served, which is a nice touch.
  • Make sure you hear that little pop in the bottle when you open it, and also to serve the baby food onto a plate rather than just serving it straight out of the bottle.
dish, platter, bowl, salver;
dinner plate, side plate, soup plate;
Scottish & Northern English  ashet
archaic trencher, charger
rare paten
1.1An amount of food on a plate: a plate of spaghetti
More example sentences
  • My belly is still in Delhi so I opt for a plate of lovely Basmati rice.
  • Not even the arrival of a plate of bresaola with Parmesan and Nunez de Prado olive oil could staunch the flow, and it was a very nice dish.
  • A glass of Indian whisky and a plate of palak paneer - a dish of spinach and cottage cheese - are at his side. We relax under a fine crescent moon.
plateful, helping, portion, serving, platter
1.2North American A main course of a meal, served on one plate: he recommended the roast beef plate
More example sentences
  • They ate their lunch, which consisted of roast beef sandwiches, salad, a fruit plate, and breadsticks.
  • The promised floral decorations were absent, but we were served a buffet lunch - an unaccompanied plate of beef stroganoff served on a bed of rice.
  • From salads to vegetable plates, the Cafe serves up fresh food from local farms Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm.
1.3Australian /NZ A plate of food contributed by a guest to a social gathering: he was invited to a party and asked to bring a plate
More example sentences
  • Guests should bring a plate of food and something to sit on.
  • To avoid the hefty workload, ask each guest to bring a plate of food.
  • She was outraged because she was asked to bring a plate, emphasising to me.
1.4A dish, typically made of metal or wood, passed round a church congregation in order to collect donations of money: they brought round the collection plates
More example sentences
  • The Hon Rev F J Nile and The Hon G Moyes refrained from passing round the plate for tithes.
  • Congregations in two Yorkshire dioceses have turned out to be among the most generous in the country when it comes to putting money on the plate at Anglican churches.
  • At the same time bible-based cults may ridicule churches that take up free-will offerings by passing collection plates and/or sell literature and tapes.
1.5 Biology A shallow glass dish on which a culture of cells or microorganisms may be grown: a tissue culture plate
More example sentences
  • Cells were seeded onto six-well culture plates and allowed to grow to form confluent monolayers.
  • The microscope first focuses on an internal reference point within the tissue culture plate containing the cells.
  • The tested yeast cultures were grown on plates with complete medium for 1 day.
2 [mass noun] Dishes, bowls, cups, and other utensils made of gold, silver, or other metal: an exhibition of the plate belonging to the college
From Old French vaisselle en plate 'dishes and plates made of a single piece of metal'
More example sentences
  • They could melt down the coins and convert the monetary metals into jewelry and plate, or have them exported along with new gold and silver from the mines.
  • To his granddaughter Elizabeth Hall, all his plate except the bowl left to Judith.
  • On the Wednesday afternoon an extended section of plate, silver and jewellery was offered including quite a number of trade entries.
2.1 [count noun] A silver or gold dish or trophy awarded as a prize in a race or competition: she lifted the plate in victory
More example sentences
  • Unfortunately, none of the Pritchard family members seemed to know exactly what had happened to the framed metal plate.
  • As customary they will both get their names on the monthly medal board and be eligible for the Gold final, but Terry won the plate on a count back.
  • After winning the Plate three weeks later, Melnyk dramatically increased his commitment to the game to the point where he is a player at the sport's highest level.
2.2 [in names] A race or competition in which a silver or gold dish or trophy is awarded: the final of the Ladies' Plate at Henley
More example sentences
  • Hounslow's Rhenu Khuttan won the girls badminton plate competition and Sandeep Gupta was narrowly defeated in the boys quarter-finals.
  • His victory in the most recent plate race is a sterling example.
  • Naas now go forward to play in the plate competition, the final of which they reached two seasons ago with this team, narrowly losing on that occasion to Skerries.
3A thin, flat sheet or strip of metal or other material, typically one used to join or strengthen things or forming part of a machine: he underwent surgery to have a steel plate put into his leg
More example sentences
  • Properties of wrought products depend to some extent on the quality of the ingot from which they were made, especially thick plates or strip made from thin castings.
  • Damping is incorporated in the rear line of columns in the form of sheets of visco-elastic material clamped between steel plates.
  • Tap shoes have thin metal plates, usually made of aluminium, screwed onto the sole and heel, allowing dancers to create percussive effects as they move.
panel, sheet, layer, lamina, leaf, pane, slab
3.1A small, flat piece of metal or other material bearing a name or inscription and attached to a door or other object: a discreet brass plate announced William Marsden, RA
More example sentences
  • It is a brass plate inscribed with the name of a passenger on the ship, Colonel Edward James.
  • I also had my own stall now with a brass plate on the stall door with my name.
  • Engraved on a metal plate next to the door was the name Entertainment Room.
plaque, nameplate, door plate, tablet, sign, brass, medallion, plaquette, cartouche
3.2 short for number plate. the car had German plates
More example sentences
  • By December 1, 2005, all trucks and trailers of more than 10 tons must also have new plates and registration documents.
  • It is thought another motorist has cloned the plate to try to escape the £5-a-day congestion charge.
  • You can only have a plate which is the same age as or older than the car.
3.3 Baseball short for home plate.
Example sentences
  • The Sox came up with one in the bottom of the inning and Passeau was still going strong when we came to the plate in the eleventh inning.
  • When Giusti fired his next palmball over the plate, Powell decided to take a rip.
  • Manny Ramirez comes to bat and lines a pitch on the outside part of the plate to right field for a single.
3.4A horizontal timber laid along the top of a wall to support the ends of joists or rafters.
Example sentences
  • The space between floors, the sub-floor, rim joist, and plates is also sealed.
  • Place them with your wall top plates to do the wall layout.
  • The slab is designed as a continuous plate supported by the floor beams and edge girders.
3.5A light horseshoe for a racehorse.
Example sentences
  • The practice of nailing iron plates or rim-shoes to the hoof does not appear to have been introduced earlier than the 2nd century B.C.
  • 99% of forelimb horseshoes were aluminum racing plates, 35% had a pad, 23% had a rim, and 8% had a heel.
4 Botany & Zoology A thin, flat organic structure or formation: the fused bony plates protect the tortoise’s soft parts
More example sentences
  • The sheath of thin bony plates extends beyond the head to form spines dorsally and ventrally.
  • The carapace is closed behind the dorsal fin; bony plates surround the entire dorsal fin base.
  • The neural and costal plates of the dorsal disk form as the outgrowths of these endoskeletal bones on inside the dermis.
5 Geology Each of the several rigid pieces of the earth’s lithosphere which together make up the earth’s surface: the Pacific Ocean plate (See also plate tectonics.).
More example sentences
  • Like many features on the Earth's surface, plates change over time.
  • As new seafloor forms, the earth's tectonic plates move apart in opposite directions at these spreading centers.
  • Most of the rock formations have been metamorphosed, folded, and faulted during the fragmentation and collision of plates of the earth's crust.
6A sheet of metal, plastic, or other material bearing an image of type or illustrations from which multiple copies are printed: the correct alignment of the plates in four-colour printing
More example sentences
  • The bank engraves banknote images into metal plates by hand and uses special inks and watermarks to prevent forgery.
  • Grice traced the final illustrations onto metal plates and placed them in a heat vacuum machine to create multiple copies of molded plastic pages.
  • But left and right are reversed in an etching, which is made by scratching lines on a metal plate and using the plate to make a print.
6.1A printed photograph, picture, or illustration, especially one on superior-quality paper in a book: the book contains sixty colour plates
More example sentences
  • Build a theme around the picture or print on the plates and paper goods.
  • After the lead-in, the rest of the book consists of colour plates with extended captions that are as interesting as the photographs themselves.
  • The books contain 606 plates illustrating 92 percent of the 1189 taxa in the keys.
picture, print, illustration, photograph, photo, engraving, lithograph
rare vignette
6.2A thin sheet of metal, glass, or other substance coated with a light-sensitive film on which an image is formed, used in larger or older types of camera.
Example sentences
  • Not even the camera and its glass plate photography could compare with Holmes's panoramas drawn with such meticulous detail.
  • This is one of the earliest forms of photography, using glass plates and light-sensitive paper.
  • Many of the images are stored on the archive on the original glass plate films they were developed on.
7A thin piece of plastic moulded to the shape of a person’s mouth and gums, to which artificial teeth or another orthodontic appliance are attached.
Example sentences
  • Like anyone of my generation, I guess, I have an absolute horror of false teeth, dental plates, dentures (there I said it).
  • The officers cracked his dental plate and loosened his teeth.
  • Sometimes, special dental plates can be used to seal the roof of the mouth to help the baby suckle milk better.
7.1 informal A complete denture or orthodontic appliance.
Example sentences
  • The Buttershaw High School pupil spent nearly two months in hospital and now has wires in his ankle, plates and screws in his upper legs and a plate in his mouth.
  • When I was done, my speech was normal, and my plates did not pop out.
  • My plates are 10 years old and I still have to pry the top plate out every day to remove them, the fit is that good.
8A thin piece of metal that acts as an electrode in a capacitor, battery, or cell.
Example sentences
  • The tank circuit is a tightly wrapped coil of wire that is connected at each end to a capacitor - two metal plates separated by an insulator.
  • Conductive material is deposited over the substrate and into the capacitor cell plate pattern.
  • The momentary high voltage on the metal plate provides the necessary energy to ionize the xenon gas, making the gas conductive.
8.1North American The anode of a thermionic valve.
Example sentences
  • The result is a flow of electrons from filament to plate.
  • Since the flow of electrons from filament to anode or plate can be varied by applying potential variations to the grid, the circuit in which this tube is used consists of two branches.


[with object]
1Cover (a metal object) with a thin coating of a different metal.
Example sentences
  • The nickel is plated on the alloy or steel by using heat and chemistry.
  • Magnesium, titanium, zirconium, niobium, tantalum, molybdenum and tungsten may be soldered if they are plated with a solderable metal coating such as silver.
  • Other plated metals include nickel, copper, and gold.
1.1Cover (an object) with plates of metal for decoration, protection, or strength: the ship is plated in the bows with steel eighteen millimetres thick
More example sentences
  • The bow was plated with metal so it could handle that, but the ship had never been designed as an icebreaker.
  • Two large ships, plated with the same grey metal, lay at anchor inside the calm area behind the massive breakwater defences, while others listed and rolled in the water, on the verge of capsizing.
  • Some knights were cited as wearing mail gloves under their plated gauntlets for added strength.
cover, coat, overlay, laminate, veneer;
electroplate, anodize, galvanize, gild, platinize, silver, tin, nickel
2Serve or arrange (food) on a plate or plates: overcooked vegetables won’t look appetizing, no matter how they are plated
More example sentences
  • Watching the chefs at work was fascinating too although I was a bit taken aback to note that they lick their fingers and serving spoons as they plate up the food.
  • There must be some better way to communicate with the kitchen so I take it to be an affectation, the other one being that although the food is already plated up when it arrives, it is served from a foldaway side table.
  • He noted that most Chinese food is plated in such a way that knives aren't necessary for the diner.
3 Baseball Score or cause to score (a run or runs): Matt Wignot plated two of Clarkson’s runs
More example sentences
  • On July 12, Gibson gave up just three hits in a win over Houston, but one was Denis Menke's seventh-inning blooper that landed just inside the left field foul line and plated a run.
  • In Milwaukee, John Vander Wal's first-inning double plated the deciding runs as the Brewers drubbed the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1.
  • In an intra-squad game he had doubled to plate a pair of runners.
4 Biology Inoculate (cells or infective material) on to a culture plate, especially with the object of isolating a particular strain of micro-organisms or estimating viable cell numbers.
Example sentences
  • Samples of 2.5x10 cells were also plated from exponentially growing cultures as control samples.
  • Cells were plated on sterile coverslips placed in 60 mm culture dishes, using the same suspension density as the one used in the MTS assay.
  • COS cells were plated on coverglasses 4 h before transfection.



on a plate

informal Used to indicate that something has been achieved with little or no effort: I didn’t have all this handed to me on a plate
More example sentences
  • Its theme parks offer entertainment on a plate, a world away from the city grime and spring showers of the UK.
  • I once had a fantastic job offered to me on a plate and I turned it down.
  • So if he's in a happy relationship and some woman offers herself on a plate to him, what's his answer?

on one's plate

chiefly British Occupying one’s time or energy: you’ve got a lot on your plate at the moment
More example sentences
  • The jury hearing evidence against him must have a lot on their plate.
  • It took me three or four weeks to realise how depressed he was, and the fact that he wasn't doing anything about it - as you may remember, I had a lot on my plate back then too.
  • Because I shall have quite a lot on my plate when I'm out there.

plates of meat

rhyming slang A person’s feet.
Example sentences
  • Oliver explained: ‘These days most Londoners know that plates, as in plates of meat, mean feet.’
  • So peel off those manky trainers and get something fresh and funky on your plates of meat.
  • In spite of my plates of meat agony - I just had to have a bit of a walk.



Pronunciation: /ˈpleɪtfʊl/
noun (plural platefuls)
Example sentences
  • By the time we're eating platefuls of asparagus, the second sign of full-on spring has arrived - elderflower blossoms bursting out all over the elder tree.
  • Among my favourites, from two platefuls, were pork in black bean sauce, the chilli spare ribs, the char sui in Cantonese sauce and the chicken wings in garlic sauce.
  • We had hardly ordered before two steaming platefuls arrived.


Example sentences
  • The harness has straps for single and twin cylinders and for those bolting the harness onto cylinder bands there is a unique ‘plateless’ mounting system (basically two mini plates) that holds the system secure.
  • First prize for the winner of the whole shebang will be Eric Roman's barely running, dog-smelling, plateless vehicle.
  • All involved ‘plateless’ staple-up radiant floor installations in which tubing was stapled directly to the underside of a wooden floor deck.


Pronunciation: /ˈpleɪtə/
Example sentences
  • Millions of consumer electronics devices - mobile phones, PDAs, PVRs, and DVD platers - are already running on stripped-down embedded versions of Linux.
  • Wark's job as a plater is to cut and shape the steel, while McArdle's is to put the structure in place on the berth before the welders come along and join the steel blocks together.
  • Mr Jowett, a plater by trade who had worked all over the country, had been there the longest - just a week.


Middle English (denoting a flat, thin sheet, usually of metal): from Old French, from medieval Latin plata 'plate armour', based on Greek platus 'flat'. sense 1 of the noun represents Old French plat 'platter, large dish', also 'dish of meat', noun use of Old French plat 'flat'.

  • A plate first described a flat, thin sheet, usually made of metal. It goes back, via medieval Latin plata ‘plate armour’, to Greek platus ‘flat’. Plate as in dinner plate is from the Old French form, plat which meant both platter (ME from the same source) ‘large dish’, and ‘dish of meat’. Plateau (late 18th century) is from Old French platel, a ‘little plate’. Platform (mid 16th century) is from French plateforme ‘ground plan’ (literally ‘flat shape’), and platitude (early 19th century) is from plat in the sense of a dull, flat form of expression. Early explorers of Australia found they had to find names for many new animals. They turned to local languages for some names ( see kangaroo), but for others they invented new Latin and Greek terms as in the duck-billed platypus. The name given to the animal by George Shaw in 1799 in his Naturalist's Miscellany and is a Latinate form of the Greek platupous ‘flat-footed’ formed from platus and pous ‘foot’, describing the shape of its large, webbed feet. See also plain

Words that rhyme with plate

abate, ablate, aerate, ait, await, backdate, bait, bate, berate, castrate, collate, conflate, crate, create, cremate, date, deflate, dictate, dilate, distraite, donate, downstate, eight, elate, equate, estate, fate, fête, fixate, freight, frustrate, gait, gate, gestate, gradate, grate, great, gyrate, hate, hydrate, inflate, innate, interrelate, interstate, irate, Kate, Kuwait, lactate, late, locate, lustrate, mandate, mate, migrate, misdate, misstate, mistranslate, mutate, narrate, negate, notate, orate, ornate, Pate, placate, prate, prorate, prostrate, pulsate, pupate, quadrate, rate, rotate, sate, sedate, serrate, short weight, skate, slate, spate, spectate, spruit, stagnate, state, straight, strait, Tate, tête-à-tête, Thwaite, translate, translocate, transmigrate, truncate, underrate, understate, underweight, update, uprate, upstate, up-to-date, vacate, vibrate, wait, weight

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: plate

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.